RealTime IT News

Judge Refuses to Halt Lindows.com Name

Another day in court resulted in another stymie for Microsoft Corp. , when a Seattle court judge found late Friday that the Redmond, Wash. software giant could not prevent San Diego's Lindows.com from using their name and releasing a competing operating system called LindowsOS.

But that won't prevent the company from pursuing a trademark infringement lawsuit versus the startup. Microsoft spokesperson Jon Murchinson told InternetNews.com: "We are disappointed with the ruling but we intend to pursue our claim in order to protect the Windows trademark. Windows is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and we will defend the years of hard work that went into building it into a trusted name among consumers."

Lindows.com is run by none other than former MP3.com founder and CEO Michael Robertson, who has been increasingly vocal about Microsoft's attempt to squelch the Lindows.com name. Microsoft sued Lindows.com for trademark infringement, claiming Robertson and his firm were trying to feed off of the software giant's success with a name that rhymes with the popular, ubiquitous Microsoft brand "Windows." Lindows.com's aim is to make a $99 operating system that runs both Linux and Windows software.

Presiding U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour said Microsoft had not shown that Lindows.com should be prevented from using the names Lindows.com and LindowsOS as part of their business.

"Microsoft has raised serious questions about the validity of its trademark [Windows]," Coughenour said.

"We're obviously satisfied with the courts ruling," Robertson said in a public statement. "Our hope is that we can move beyond the courtroom and focus on our goal of bringing choice back to the PC business. Microsoft constantly appeals for the 'right to innovate.' I hope they will allow us to roll out our innovative operating system, which will cost a third of Microsoft's products, without further impedance. We've shown we can defend ourselves against a much larger corporation and we'll continue to battle in a trial if necessary."

Lindows.com filed for the motion to dismiss the trademark lawsuit in January. At the time, Microsoft's Murchinson told InternetNews.com: "We're not at all asking the court to stop or prevent the company from making the product, we're simply saying it shouldn't use a name that confuses the public and infringes our trademark."

Some lawyers predicted Microsoft would have a tough row to hoe because the company had established a pattern of letting other firms trade off of its Windows name.

Robertson has made a habit of publishing the case's progress in a "Michael's Minutes" section on the Lindows.com Web site.

Judge Coughenour's ruling may be found here.

On another legal front for Microsoft, the software firm squared off in court Monday versus the nine states which held out on the settlement brokered by the U.S. Department of Justice.