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X-Box Name Dispute In The Works 143

Machina writes: "Seems Microsoft was a little late in claiming their X-Box Trademark . "Microsoft (MSFT) could face a legal challenge to its use of the Xbox name for its forthcoming videogame console. Microsoft filed its claim to the name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Oct. 18, 1999, but a Florida company registered its use of the Xbox mark with the USPTO on March 10, 1999. "
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X-Box Name Dispute In The Works

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'd prefer Y-Box, reflecting the needlessness of the thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And it sounds like, in this instance, they're in the right.

    In what sense? It does sound as though the other company registered the trademark first. So far as I can tell neither company has actually brought a product to market using this mark, I don't see anything that would make you think Microsoft has the better claim of the two.
  • by Paul Crowley ( 837 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @12:58AM (#450550) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft do lots of evil things, but when was the last time you heard of them threatening to sue competitors over a patent or trademark? That's not really the way they operate. You're thinking of Apple, or IBM, or another such litigous nasty.

    And it sounds like, in this instance, they're in the right. Much as I loathe them, this isn't the way I'd like to see them lose.
  • Nevermind NT. Microsoft made a big deal umpteen years ago about "Windows" not being subject to trademark, and that theirs was for "Microsoft Windows." There were just too many conflicts otherwise, both for trademarks and common usage (The Apple II (and probably I) recognized windows on the screen. You poked the borders into low memory (10-13?))

  • Apparently the next version of WinCE is known as Talisker. For those of you who don't know this is a nice, peaty single malt whisky distilled on the isle of Skye.

    Yet another company MS assumes doesn't have the money to sue them for stealing a trademark.
  • IIRC it was called QDOS - Quick and Dirty OS - when it was written by a totally different Seattle based company. MS bought it, hacked around with it a bit and renamed it.
  • a 2 September 1999 article from Next Generation magazine.

    Which could easily have a month's lead-time - certainly the few times I've ever dealt with (non-news) items for magazines, they have a surprisingly huge lead time.
  • IE 5.00.2314.1003CO, but I'm using "light" mode, which is probably the pertinent point. There's an extra just before "Microsoft (MSFT) could face a... in the article, this probably doesn't affect the default slash layout because of the tables.
  • Arse, I meant to say "An extra <I>", of course.
  • Everything on the front page in "light" mode is coming up in italics, because this story doesn't close the tag!
  • With DOA2 as the first game available. :)
  • HTML doesn't care and won't catch on that you forgot a close tag, it'll happily format the page *exactly* the way you tell it, even if it's not what you intended...

    Bug? Heh, yeah, must be, cos our Fearless Slashdot Article Editors certainly wouldn't make a mistake like that!
  • That suggestion was in the Register story of a day or three ago mentioned in one of the above posts.
  • (common guys, I gues typing something like grep -i xbox , or something like that, is not that difficult, is it?)
    Microsoft Winders doesn't ship with something as incredibly useful as grep(1) per default. Makes you wonder, huh? :)
    Slashdot didn't accept your submission? [] will!
  • Is 'The console formally known as XBox' to awkard? Really though doesn't anyone at Microsoft check trademarks before giving press releases with a product name. That'd seem to be standard business practice but they never seem to bother. If Microsoft really wanted to dent the console market they'd target a new audience that doesn't usually go for consoles. I suggest they partner w/ MTV to create M$TV Interactive and then sell Britney Spears and Backstreet Boy labeled games, diaries, chat tools, etc that teenage girls would flock to. Slap in a portable MP3/PDA/wireless-chat/game unit that can dock and get the jump on the digital content battle. They could totally side step Sony and grab a mostly ignored market (people who haven't just shelled out $500 for a PS2 and extras).
  • Well, Sony and Microsoft have ongoing business dealings with each other, so it's highly doubtful that Sony would want to piss on one of their partners like that. Not that it would stop some other company from doing it, since XBOX Technologies' market cap as of yesterday's closing bell was only $6.6 million. (Although such a ploy would be pretty obvious to the patent office.) Of course, with Bill Gates making 125 dollars per second (last time I heard it reported, anyway), it would only take him about 14.7 hours to make the money to buy up all their outstanding shares.

    Just looking over their filing for fiscal year 2000, and it looks like they lost $10.4 million on only $879,000 of revenue. Doesn't exactly seem like these guys will be much trouble for Microsoft.

    On a side note, when looking some of this stuff up, I noticed that Google indexes PDF documents now. How long have they been doing this? Pretty cool...


  • You're either kidding or have never been within 10 miles of a company having anything remotely to do with the Internet. Registering a domain name is something that you do as soon as you've decided on the name, so someone doesn't grab it. In fact, checking to see if the name is available is something almost always done before you even pick a name in the first place these days.

    You don't have to register a domain name to be legit, but it's pretty fishy that a company which lost $10.4 million last year somehow had a hard time springing for the $35 yearly registration fee, when they plan on building their internet-related company around that name.


  • Well, FWIW, Nicollet changed their name to XBOX Technologies on 3 August 1999, and the first reference on DejaNews to Microsoft's Xbox refers to a 2 September 1999 article from Next Generation magazine.


  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @12:11AM (#450566)

    This tech company was so concerned with the value of the name "Xbox", yet they never tried to get the domain, which Microsoft owns? They changed their name from Nicollet Process Enginerring to XBOX Technologies two months before Microsoft filed for the "Xbox" trademark. I'm pretty sure that rumors were floating around about the Xbox name before Microsoft filed for the trademark, which was why everyone was speculating about the name.

    So...anyone know when leaks first started appearing that Microsoft would name the system "Xbox?" Or if XBOX/NPE company is a "trademark squatter" and have filed for trademarks with a lot of other names that they don't use? If their ownership is a joke, they don't have much of a chance here.


  • Seems that this time, Microsoft got caught on his own game of pattenting/deposing anything it can...

    And, the worst for Microsoft is that the whole design of his console is based on his name !!!

    The only thing that may be worse is Sony getting that name and building a console named... X-box ;-) After all the advertisement made by Microsoft around that future console, it would be great...
  • Project code names have no relation at all to released product names. Earlier versions of Windows CE have gone under various names as Wyvern, Gryphon, Rapier, Jupiter, Goldeneye, and more. And yet, the products using each one of those do not even reference the codenames.

  • After Windows NT came out, MS went after tons of people with domains that had "NT" in them, most of them 3rd party sites that, well, offered advice and help with Windows NT!
    MS claimed that "NT" belonged to them, despite the presence of the Apple LaserWriter NT from *many* years before Windows NT even existed.


    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • Considering what you've described has been called an X-TERMINAL for years, what's the point?
  • I submitted this item two days ago...
  • Surely they would have heard of XBox long ago -- surely they would have been able to contact MS and say "er, no, we have that name" much earlier,

    It's up to Microsoft to do the search, not the company that owns the trademark to notify them. The only thing that could happen to XBox Technologies for not doing anything is that the name could be lost to the general public because they didn't attempt to protect it (e.g. Aspirin). Interestingly this would mean than that ANY company could call their product an XBox. ;)

  • If Microsoft allowed rumors to float around anywhere without filling out the right paperwork, then it's their own fault. I work at a pretty small company (~50 people). When we come up with a new product name, or even a short list for a product name, the minute people leave the meeting we're on our way to register domain names and file trademark paperwork. That's just how things work.
  • Registering a domain name is something that you do as soon as you've decided on the name, so someone doesn't grab it. In fact, checking to see if the name is available is something almost always done before you even pick a name in the first place these days.

    Are you serious? Maybe they had other priorities in choosing a name? If Microsoft for example were more worried about checking that a domain name was available than checking that the trademark was available (this is a registered trademark) then they only have themselves to blame for any problems / expense it causes them.
  • What about closing that italic tag on the frontpage?
  • Microsoft should call their product "XboX ;-)"
  • Maybe after Georgie boy helps them with their little legal problem....
  • Seems to me as if what they are really wanting here is to profit by letting MS invest a lot in their trademark

    Looks more like the problem is with the USPTO. XBox Technologies registered the tademark six months before Microsoft even tried. Sounds more line Microsoft simply assumed that they chould hijack someone elses registered trade mark.
  • "Sony not pissing off one of their partners"? What is MS doing to Sony then??
  • May be it's about time microsoft did a registration of all possible names and symbols that start or end with the letter X .. directX, activeX, Xbox, windows XP etc. etc. or for that matter, copyright the letter X itself - "the use of a alphabet formed by the intersection of two diagonals in all products"
  • I'm going to patent A-Hole before Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, or John Ashcroft do.


  • Why not box# (box-sharp). "Sharp" seems to be Microsoft's new marketing 'innovation'. Besides, the X-everything is getting a little old and confusing (X (Windows), Mac OS X, DirectX, ActiveX, etc.).
  • Yea so what? That's how things work in the US.

    The real question is why wasn't anybody at MS smart enough to do a search before settling on a name especially one so obvious as Xbox. How many products have Xsomething or somthingX in them.
  • > ...Linux cleaning services...

    ... and in Australia, there used to be Vax vacuum cleaners, advertised with the slogan "Nothing sucks like a Vax". Sure enough, Digital Equipment Corporation (now Compaq) was not amused...

  • Besides that, if the products of the same name are totally not related it's not uncommon 2 companies can register the same name

    Yea, except the company that patented it first was a software company. I think thats somewhat related to Microsoft.

    _ _ _
    I was working on a flat tax proposal and I accidentally proved there's no god.

  • Er, I'm Canadian, and Box2001 is definitely lost on me.
    Please do explain.
  • Read my previous post [] on the subject. Microsoft owns two X trademarks, 76041367 [] and 76041368 [].

    Among the things these trademarks cover is the use of X to describe an OS that can play games. I half expect Microsoft to go suing Linux distros and UNIX vendors to drop games from their distributions or stop using the term X.

    This is all because someone wrote that damn xbill [] game. Trademarking X gives Bill Gates the right to sue that game out of existence!

    Actually, in all seriousness, I have to wonder. I was in an EB store and saw a large green X displayed and saw the tm sign and went searching and found the two above trademarks for X.

  • ...they lost $10.4 million on only $879,000 of revenue.

    The ticker symbol has an 'E' added to the end ("XBOXE"). In day-trader lingo, that means the company's in serious trouble. There's a quote in the article that suggests that the company wants MS to just buy the trademark. I wouldn't be surprised if that is their latest business plan revision.

  • My reaction to this would be:

    Who cares, Patents are just a plain pain in the ass. In most of the cases they are couterintuitive and protect the rights of the companies that have 'big money'.

    But on the other hand it's quite fun to see that M$ is losing at a game they prove to be quite good at time after time.

    For as far as the name X-box goes, who cares what it is called, as long as what's inside works.

  • Even better:
  • Sure, Microsoft could buy XBox Technologies and get the trademark for pocket change. But what is Sony bought the company? That would be so funny!!! :-)
  • Nah. Probably XPbox.
  • We have a second. All in Favour?

  • From what I know (which isn't much) if they call the machine the x-box (as they typically have been) than they don't have trouble with someone calling themselves xbox (no hyphen). Plus, "customer confusion" can only help the other little company. Of course, then again so would a 10 million dollar gag. (Regretting not registerring the name in February!)
  • True, but that was over a domain name, not a business name. And of course it was wrong.

    I look back to a fun example. In Allentown, PA, where I go to school, there is a place called Phoebe Floral. I know this because I bought flowers from there yesterday for the gf. Meanwhile, in the same city, there is a Phoebe Catering service and a Phoebe Book Shop. Now these are different Phoebi, and they don't sue each other because they sell different products. (and yet they are in the same town!)

    I reiterate that etoy and etoys are both still doing business under their respective names, and the only reason that there was hooplah about the domain name is because a judge (who probably has a lot of toys now) bowed to corporate pressure.

  • Name it ZBox than.
  • they are a software company. microsoft could potentially expand into their market (it's not a stretch at all)
  • It's certainly not too late for Microsoft to change the name of the machine. After all, "Joe-Game-Player" has no idea what the X-Box is.

    I personally think it's most likely that Microsoft will just pay these guys off.

    From what I understand, X-Box Technologies have yet to actually do anything substantial under that name.

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • by Jailbrekr ( 73837 ) <> on Tuesday February 06, 2001 @11:54PM (#450601) Homepage
    Alright. Microsoft has registered the NAME X-Box. Whoopie. Now, lets try something here. Lets take a thin client, install X Windows on it, and then refer to it as an "X Box". From the literal perspective, one would have every right to refer to it as an "X Box", as it IS a box, and it IS running X.

    Does a trademark name infringe on ones use of the english language? Are we forbidden from using the phrase "X Box" as a description, as opposed to a product name?

    Just a rambling thought.....
  • Stop! I am Bill Gates! We are Microsoft!

    Hmmmm! That didn't work, let's try this again.


    That didn't work either, try again.


    Oh, damn it, here's a million bucks, now give us our trademark.
  • You can't have the same name for the same class of device.
  • Evangelion Slashdot Splorcg scene. Yikes
  • by dave-fu ( 86011 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @06:06AM (#450605) Homepage Journal
    No, really. Two-odd years ago I was working for a (now since long-dead) startup, and our initial name was, you guessed it... X-Box. I wasn't so wowed by it, but whatever, I'm a developer, not a marketroid.
    So I head out to check it out on Internic, and it turns out that someone had snatched the site up a few weeks before we wanted it. Shit.
    So I check the site out, see that nothing's there. Portscan it (yes, I'm a bad person) and find out no fucking services are up and running on it. E-mail the provider, get forwarded to the owner, and he's got the huevos to tell me "I've got some very exciting functionality coming out from my website in the next year, but I'd be willing to part with it for $10,000." I scream various and sundry obscenities, call him a squatting shitbag (not to his face), but he stands firm on it.
    Who knew the douche was sitting on such a goddamned goldmine?
  • Actually... the NT name/trademark was at that point owned (and still owned) by Northern Telecom (now referred to as NORTEL). I've heard it that Northern Telecom _still_ owns the the trademark of NT, and that MS is paying them to use it in their Windows NT. (Which may be part of why it's not Windows NT anymore, but Windows2000).
  • Someone forgot to put on a /I on the end of that block. All of SlashDot is italicized. Abug in Slash?

  • Maybe they won't laugh. I've always thought that Microsoft deliberately choses names to devalue existing terms that are in common use. Ignore "Windows", we know about that one. They railroaded "DOS" prior to that to. Shit, "DOS" runs on 360s. PCs run a souped up CP/M clone.

    The "X" stuff - ActiveX, DirectX - I think was deliberate. At the time when "X" is actually getting more known (a few years ago when they started using the names) they start using these. Then there's "DNS". Of all names to overload, that is not a good one to pick. And "DNA".

    Geez, MS DNA. If I turn blue and die you'll know what happened.

  • by AtrN ( 87501 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @01:03AM (#450609) Homepage
    Please, it's not a patent

    Time and time again on /. various IP topics come up and there are hundreds of incorrect statements about IP law. Patents are confused with copyrights, copyrights confused with trademarks, and patents confused with trademarks. They are very different things (and much is written about them and available on the WWW, try the Patent and Trademarks Office for starters).

    As for a leak. Doubtful. Maybe they just didn't do a proper search (MS registered their mark all over the place, basketballs is one of the product areas in trademark #78026626). Maybe someone blabbed an in-house development name in public and then, with the blabber having lots of clout, they have to stick with it all the way to making it the logo on top of the box. Or maybe they've got a lot of money in the bank and can dangle some really big carrots in front of the little folks who might get in their way. Or some combination thereof. Pure speculation of course.

    However this looks like an co-exisiting trademark owner (marks can co-exist in different markets) attempting to extend their mark from one area to another. MS with their new product are trying to grab the name everywhere (as is their habitual behaviour, grab everything). They collide. Time to get the lawyers out again for rolodexes and bad hair at ten paces on the courthouse steps.

  • From the Register [] article:
    "Van Leeuwen reckons he first heard about the Xbox console early last year, and contacted Microsoft immediately."
  • by gumis ( 92355 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2001 @11:45PM (#450611)
    they will just switch to $-box name..
  • Actually, no. I placed my mouse on your link, and if it shows up a whole bunch of spaces I know what it is - from your moderation history.
  • Please oh great SONY Corp. buy this company, you wont be sorry :) PLEASE !!
  • I especially like the last quote:
    "If they want us to part with it, it's up to them to determine how much they think it's worth"
    Or in other words, "Cut us a big fat check and we'll let you use the name."
    Sometimes, I have the fleeting thought man has invented time travel in the not too distant future, and they're messing with us.


  • lol

    There you go, I get your joke, happy? :)

    Now lets talk about metres, grams and colours.. lets really confuse them ;)

  • Sounds to me like Xbox Technologies Chairman, John van Leeuwen, doesn't want to wait for an IPO. Bet ya M$ buys themselves a new "e-learning" company in Florida.
  • ...that Linux cleans house.

    ...Linux cleaning services (yeah really! in The Hague, it's a house cleaning agency)...

  • From what I can tell at the USPTO website, all of these APPLICATIONS have not issued as REGISTRATIONS yet.

    You apply, then get tenative approval, your mark is then published for opposition by anyone out there, and once you get past the opposition period, then you can get the registration.

    When you are searching the trademark database, a serial number is an application, a registration number is a registered trademark. (You get to put an R with a circle after your mark.) Everything I saw was an application.

  • by nhavar ( 115351 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @08:30AM (#450619) Homepage

    XBOX Technologies of Minnesota (corp) and Florida, per their website, is nothing more than a holding company. It appears that the companies sole business is that of acquisitions and mergers of technology companies. To put it simply they "acquire" a company, hire new management, redesign business processes, train and restaff and then probably do one of two things sell the company or use it as leverage on it's next acquisition.

    Unfortunately XBOX Technologies is also listed as a company that's goals are knowledge management, training, discemination of information across a network, wireless, desktop, or web enabled device, listed as a tech support company, media portal, and previously did business in the design of processes for plastics engineering. Is this a company that's really just in search of something to do. It doesn't appear that XBOX Technologies even knows what kind of company it is since it's own website lists it as two different things not to mention the descriptions available from other sites.

    This leads me to the other issue. Trademark law is very goods/services oriented. They understand that there are only so many name/letters/combinations out there for companies and therefore trademarks are usually based around a product or service. Trademark disputes typically happen between two business who are in direct competition or when one business has a mark that could be considered famous. XBOX Technologies does not at present produce anything that competes with Microsoft and XBOX has not come into use or enough recognition to be considered famous. (Famous usually means that the mark has been in use by a company for several years and that a wide variety of people associate that mark with the companies product or service). The trademark office should be able to easily allow both marks to co-exist.

    Now there is one more problem to throw in. XBOX Technologies is apparently in need of some positive cash flow, they have one major investor and their stock price, although up from it's low of 0.06, is 0.25. Happy coincidence (most likely not a planned coincidence) they have requested the same trademark as a possibly hot new product offered by a company with some pretty deep pockets. So the question comes up as to whether or not they can cash in on this coincidence and garner some much needed cash and possibly some free recognition/press for their ailing company. Positive cash flow and free press draw in investors (which seems to be this companies primary purpose, as an investment).

    So now just months before the MS XBOX is to be released discussion begins over trademark issues and who owns what and what it's worth to Microsoft. Microsoft wants the ability to market more than just the box under the XBOX brand and they've invested millions already and so it's pretty late in the game to wait for a court battle, add a hyphen, add MS to the mark, or to drop the name for something else. Cases have been designed, ads readied, printed material, logo's, websites, documentation, millions and millions of dollars. So what's easiest. MS has to make an offer that will keep the issue out of court, whether or not it's an issue that even needs to go to court. Remember this is 'civil' court and things can get pretty protracted, injunctions, motions, etc. possible product delay, negative press for a new product, lawyers fees. You know the drill. So the question now is "How much is it worth to Microsoft?" "How much has MS spent on XBOX to date?" and possibly a secondary question arises "Is what XBOX Technologies is doing ethical?"

  • From the Financial Summary [] on Yahoo:

    XBOX Technologies, Inc. designs, manufactures, markets, and supports monitoring and control systems, host level client/server software, and machine diagnostic tools for the die casting and plastic injection molding industries.

    Maybe Microsoft could give them or one of their clients the contract to make X-Box cases...;)

  • Microsoft(R) Windows 98
    (C)Copyright Microsoft Corp 1981-1998.

    C:\WINDOWS>find /?

    Searches for a text string in a file or files.
    FIND [/V] [/C] [/N] [/I] "string" [[drive:][path]filename[ ...]]

    /V Displays all lines NOT containing the specified string.
    /C Displays only the count of lines containing the string.
    /N Displays line numbers with the displayed lines.
    /I Ignores the case of characters when searching for the string.
    "string" Specifies the text string to find.
    Specifies a file or files to search.
    If a pathname is not specified, FIND searches the text typed at the prompt
    or piped from another command.

  • by HalfFlat ( 121672 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @02:02AM (#450622)

    Microsoft need only make a small change - a single character - and simultaneously sidestep the trademark problem while building on brand recognition.

    Everyone knows a game console should be uncomplicated and straightforward. It should be simple. It should be intuitive. It should be something your mother can use.

    It should be called ... X-BOB.

  • No no no...this game system be the greatest advance in gaming technology to date! This hardware be the item everyone be wanting this Christmas! And it be obvious what the X-Box should become...

    Presenting...the B-Box!

    (am I a marketing genius or what?)

  • by Anonymous Squonk ( 128339 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2001 @11:41PM (#450624) Journal
    I vote for "XXX-Box"
  • If Micro$oft gets the trademark, no doubt they'll just buy it at this point, then you would have a difficult time using the name X box for your product.

    X boxen sounds cool though, would they be able to prevent the use of *that*?

  • If they don't have squat Microsoft can sue them till the cows come home and it won't do any good. I bet that M$ will just buy 'em off.

    This is your lucky day.

  • by Otis_INF ( 130595 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @12:52AM (#450627) Homepage
    NT as a name was already trademarked. So MS trademarked 'Windows NT'. I wouldn't be suprised that MS will now trademark 'Microsoft X-Box' instead of just 'X-Box'. Besides that, if the products of the same name are totally not related it's not uncommon 2 companies can register the same name:

    Here in the netherlands we have Dove chocolate (from Mars Inc.) and Dove soap. Thankfully they don't use the same packaging, but both marks are trademarks. Also we have Sun dishwasher stuff and Sun computers, Linux cleaning services (yeah really! in The Hague, it's a house cleaning agency) and Linux the OS... :)

  • Becaused they sued a small midwest ISP called Synet who applied for the trademark.

    They will probably sue XBox in similar fashion.

    And NOT ZBOX!. my opensource Palm file manager is called ZBoxZ (, and I would consider ZBox an infringement (I've applied to register the trademark).
  • i seem to remember hearing someone suggest that Sony buy the trademark from xbox tech and then what the fur fly.

  • Interesting approach from Microsoft on this: that "Internet Explorer" is a generic name like "cola."

    If they did this with "XBox," we could all release our own branded "X-Box" running an "Internet Explorer." Then sell them in the same shops as the MS X-Box, and make them better (Throw in a next-gen GEForce2 dualhead, Soundblaster Live Platinum 5.1, bigger monitor, maybe a Bleem PS2 emulator... the possibilities are endless!

  • Mail this to taco or go to, register and post about it. I think the second option is more likable to get the attention needed.. :)
    "No se rinde el gallo rojo, sólo cuando ya está muerto."
  • argh, I don't have mod points...
    This one really deserves at least some more funny points...
  • problem ended... Etoys is going belly-up
  • They would have a little difficulty with prior art on that one. I think they really ought to be considering discovering a new letter which they could then copyright. I wonder what the smallest amount of information the US patent office would allow to be patented is. Maybe a truncated capital gamma - "A small section of the lower right quadrant of the intersection of a horizontal line and its perpendicular"

    New computer arrives today - see user info for reason why I'm especially happy

  • x-box (as they typically have been) than they don't have trouble with someone calling themselves xbox (no hyphen).

    Well, howabout etoy and Etoys, almost the same situation

  • by beebware ( 149208 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2001 @11:40PM (#450637) Homepage
    The Register has this article [] where it gives details that 'XBox Technologies' registered the XBox tradmark in March 1999, while Microsoft has been trying to get it since October 1999.
    Richy C.
  • by CarrotLord ( 161788 ) <> on Tuesday February 06, 2001 @11:55PM (#450638) Journal
    They will just do what they did with Word, and call it "Box"... or perhaps, to build the upgrade culture, they will go for Box2001. (maybe XBox2001 is different enough for the USPTO). Hmm... I'm sure there's a joke to be made about POBox2001 In Your Capital City, but it may just be an Australian-centric joke, and will be lost on this audience... :)

    \ rr

  • by CarrotLord ( 161788 ) <> on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @12:01AM (#450639) Journal
    sure, this other company may have got in before MS, but check this quote:

    "Microsoft is spending a lot of money promoting it and I think [the Xbox name] is as valuable to them as it is to us. If they want us to part with it, it's up to them to determine how much they think it's worth," Van Leeuwen said.

    Seems to me as if what they are really wanting here is to profit by letting MS invest a lot in their trademark, and then hitting them with a conflict to get money out of them. Surely they would have heard of XBox long ago -- surely they would have been able to contact MS and say "er, no, we have that name" much earlier, so MS would be able to get a new name form the start... but no, it appears that they hvae let it go long enough for it to be worth MS's while to pay them out rather than find a new name...


  • by dirtmerchant ( 162306 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2001 @11:48PM (#450640) Homepage
    You would have thought that they would have learned their lesson after this []. Microsoft didn't originally own the name Internet Explorer. Some hack ISP (long since belly up) owned the trademark.
  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @05:15AM (#450646) Journal
    How about Box.NET?
  • by evocate ( 209951 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @10:08AM (#450652)
    It's not so unusual for Microsoft to change the name of one of their products, especially an unreleased product. They have the marketing engine to call anything whatever they want. They even have the audacity to rename Java to .NET.
  • Amusing concept, that a name is lawsuit worthy or even patentable (since we're technically talking a trademark)...

    While I'm currently a PC user, I did do some work with Macs and whatnot, and find it ironic, considering that Apple Records tried suing Apple Computers on similar claims (only relaxing their claims when Apple) at the time, promised to make their equipment crippled so that recording music would be unviable without non-Apple hardware... Hence the reason why Macs prior to 1990 required seperate audio recording hardware, and only in the last someodd 5 years were finally allowed to record in 16 bit audio...

  • Actually, up until 1991, when the Mac IIci was released, there were no Macs with audio recording hardware or microphones... That was largely due to Apple Records threatening Apple Computers... Apple agreed with Apple not to sue, as long as Apple stuck to the computer industry, and refused to make recording equipment... Up until 1991, Apple sold a recording dongle that connected to the Mac, for an exhorbitant amount of money (around $200-$300), which was basically a simple encoder and a microphone...

    Confusing ain't it?

    Well, along the way, they determined that 8 bit recording wasn't a violation, because even the most basic professional digital recording hardware at the time was 16-24 bit, which meant anything that could be recorded on a Mac had no way in hell of being considered as a "marketable" recording... So after the Mac IIcx, they decided that adding barebones recording hardware was acceptable...

    Eventually Apple Records gave up on chasing the lawsuit bandwagon, and so, from 1994 through present, Apple went into designing better sound hardware for their platforms...

    As for the Sosume sound, I believe that was incorporated into the Mac sound scheme for over a decade now, but was created by Apple as a joke on Apple Records'lawsuits after the fact...
  • by MWoody ( 222806 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @01:15AM (#450660)
    Whoah, I'm so confused! Do I side on the point of pointless, belligerent legislation, or on the side of the Satan-spawned megacorp Microsoft? Is there some legal way they can _both_ lose?

    Hear that sound? That's the heads of thousands of Slashdot regulars exploding.

  • by RandomPeon ( 230002 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @01:19AM (#450664) Journal
    I think this is ironic justice. Consider:

    1. BT discovered that they had a patent on hyperlinks only after they were in wide use.
    2. Altavista has just determined that it has a patent that covers all types of searching.
    3. Nintendo, Atari (or whoever owns their assets) and other abandonware makers have all tried to make a fairly lucrative business out of extorting abandonware distributors.

    The above-mentioned examples are reactive exploitations of the very broken intellectual property system. These guys are just being proactive about exploiting the system.

    Heck, if you tried to patent "IP squatting" as a business model, there would far too much prior art to get the patent approved.
  • Look closely at the 'X' logo for the X Window System. It's not two diagonals crossed. It's a Less-than and a greater-than butted up against each other, slightly skewed.
  • Everyone remember Joel Hodgson, genius creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000? Well, he created a gigantic movable set-based show (that, sadly, never made it into syndication). The name of this show/concept/contraption? The X-box!

    Joel should sue both of them.

When I left you, I was but the pupil. Now, I am the master. - Darth Vader