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Microsoft Starts Legal Fight Over Lindows Name 670

actappan writes: "Whether or not Lindows is real, this article on CNET indicates that Microsoft intends to sue them into oblivion. Looks like supression remains the best way to promote innovation." cyberlawyer adds: "Some of you may remember that MS originally had great difficulty obtaining a trademark for the generic term 'Windows' but was eventually able to pay off those who had filed letters of protest to the granting of the mark including Sun, Oracle, and Borland. As a trademark lawyer I (unhappily) have to admit that Lindows probably has a weak case. Of course it's never too late to bring a cancellation action based on genericide ;-)" CodeWheeney contributes a link to coverage at Yahoo, too.
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Microsoft Starts Legal Fight Over Lindows Name

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  • Innovation (Score:5, Funny)

    by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:11PM (#2735492) Homepage Journal
    Looks like supression remains the best way to promote innovation.

    There's nothing quite as innovative as an operating system with the sole goal of reimplementing APIs from other operating systems until it can run their binaries. :)

    • Microsoft is making sure this company gets a lot of publicity.

      The U.S. government causes problems, then pretends to solve them by creating more: What should be the Response to Violence? []
    • Re:Innovation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @08:18AM (#2736850) Homepage
      There's nothing quite as innovative as an operating system with the sole goal of reimplementing APIs from other operating systems until it can run their binaries. :)

      Let's see, first the guy founds despite the fact he had nothing at all to do with the definition of the MP3 spec. Then they get into an amazin mess after they launch their BeamIT! service despite the obvious legal problems. Then they agree to a multi-million dollar settlement only to realize that they paid off the worng people, the ones who own the mechanical rights and not the performance performance rights...

      This is not the type of person I would exactly want to tie my colours to...

      Microsoft appear to me to have a very good case. The point is that they were the first company to come up with an Operating System called Windows. X11 is not an O/S. Lindows is trying to trade on the reputation that Microsoft has built up.

      Beyond that however the guy is attempting to trade on the Open Source concept while developing something that will be closed source.

      It all sounds so much like MP3, the business model is entirely clueless. Who do they expect to pay money for a sad copy of a Windows clone? It will always be at least one release behind the Microsoft article. Nobody is going to test software on an O/S with 0.1% market share or less. Windows is not just a set of APIs, it is also a kernel that has completely different semantics to the Linux kernel. The best you can hope for is something that works as well as the Windows NT POSIX mode - which is to say not well at all really.

      It also sounds like MP3 in that the idea is to somehow make money by lowering a hook loaded with bait into a trendy scene where the basic premise is not to pay for anything. I suspect that the markets are not as happy with companies whose 'business plan' is less important to them than their 'exit strategy'.

  • To me it's fair (Score:3, Insightful)

    by linuxci ( 3530 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:11PM (#2735496)
    The name is not "Windows" but "Lindows" which gives the impression that it's not Windows but somehow connected to Windows.

    Therefore I see no problem in the name, if Microsoft were truly believers of free competition and innovation they'd leave this alone. The only time to complain is if they try and con people into thinking this project has a connection to Microsoft.

    I think windows should be a generic term anyway, whether I'm running Windows, X or BeOS I call those boxes on the screen 'windows', therefore any derivatives of the name should be allowed I think.
    • Re:To me it's fair (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tickenest ( 544722 )

      The name is not "Windows" but "Lindows" which gives the impression that it's not Windows but somehow connected to Windows.

      Isn't this the problem? Windows doesn't want its brand name to be associated with something that's not Microsoft, so naturally they're going to fight it.

      if Microsoft were truly believers of free competition and innovation they'd leave this alone

      Who besides Microsoft ever said they were such believers? (And have they ever even said this???)

      I think windows should be a generic term anyway, whether I'm running Windows, X or BeOS I call those boxes on the screen 'windows', therefore any derivatives of the name should be allowed I think

      That'd be nice, but I wouldn't expect it to happen anytime soon.

    • Re:To me it's fair (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grammar fascist ( 239789 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:43PM (#2735639) Homepage
      The name is not "Windows" but "Lindows" which gives the impression that it's not Windows but somehow connected to Windows.

      That's exactly the point behind the legislation, and I'll have to grudgingly agree with Microsoft on this thing. "Windows" is such a ubiquitous name, and "Lindows" is so phonetically close, that the only thing the Lindows people could be doing with a name like that is riding on their coattails, so to speak. (Whether or not they meant to is not an issue.) This lawsuit is exactly what trademark law is for.

      Another issue is that Microsoft doesn't want the tech support calls for Lindows (and you know it would happen). Yet another is that people would automatically associate Windows with Lindows, and that's not something Microsoft wants either. Trademark law is also meant to protect against these two problems.

      Whether or not "Windows" is a strong enough mark is a completely different issue. They've got the trademark, and, by law, they can protect it.
    • by abe ferlman ( 205607 ) <bgtrio AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday December 20, 2001 @11:42PM (#2735810) Homepage Journal
      They should change the name to "Bill Gates is a big fat idiot presents: Lindows" so that people won't get confused. You know, just to be sure.

      No really, maybe not that, but I think that this lawsuit is the best kind of publicity they could possibly get. They should capitalize on it by changing the name to something subtle that jabs at microsoft but still makes clear what it does. If only Sun was behind it- they could call it "Sunroof".

      Howzabout "windshield"? "Glass Joe" (Include MAME with punchout standard :))

      Wait, I've got it. "MirrorGlass" Have a picture of a mirror on the box, with the reflection of a window tinted with microsoft colors in the background, and a penguin waving in. How cute is that?

      Mr. Robertson, this idea is mine but you may take it and run with it. Hell, I'll sign papers and even let you take it proprietary. I'd love to see that image on a shelf and have some clerk at Compusa have to explain what it means to a customer. "Well, that's tux the penguin, and he's looking through some windows at you, but they're not *microsoft* windows, because microsoft sued the company, so they're just regular old windows. Well, not really since Windows(TM) is a registered trademark of Microsoft. But anyway, it runs programs built for windows, even though it's not Windows(TM)"
    • by MousePotato ( 124958 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @12:15AM (#2735917) Homepage Journal
      allright then I hereby apply for the folloing *indows variants;
      Aintdows - no this is clearly not m$
      Bindows - all your /bin are belong...
      Dindows - gungas client
      Eindows - scary physics edition
      Findows - Sharks gotta have an OS too
      Gindows - Shaken, stirred...
      Hindows - new religious sect
      Jindows - straight up moonshine version 1.0
      Kindows - the deep south hillbilly OS
      Lindows - err.. oops thats taken
      Mindows - Ho Chi's apple based abicus
      Nindows - Trent Reznor enhanced edition
      Oindows - complete with matzah balls
      Pindows - an OS so simple your PHB could use
      Qindows - soo bloated you need five beowulf clusters just to boot
      Rimdows - the ass lickers edition
      Sindows - the ultimate pr0n OS(aka Pr0ndows)
      Tindows - the only os without a shrinkrap
      Unindows - what you really want to rm -rf
      Vindows - aint this one taken too?
      W.. ahh f them
      Xindows ...hrm...
      Yindows - Fengshue cosmic edition
      Zindows - a narcoleptic edition (formerly known as Win95)

      yuk yuk...
  • Lawsuits. (Score:3, Funny)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:12PM (#2735497) Homepage
    Ah, perfect. Don't change the name; just slap on the Aqua interface and ship it. This is the legal equivalent of a honeypot.

  • by jmd! ( 111669 ) <jmd@pobox. c o m> on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:12PM (#2735499) Homepage
    Linus has just as good a case... Lindows starts with Lin, which is over half of the name Linux.
  • by FrankNputer ( 141316 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:13PM (#2735503)
    How about Windex?

    Oh, wait...damn...
  • "Microsoft contends the company, which plans to formally release its product next year, purposely is trying to confuse Lindows with Windows."

    Microsoft is in grave danger of trademark dilution here. I mean, if they were a monopoly and the vast majority of OS users ran Windows, I wouldn't say, but as a fragile company with such a small name recognition, it's important that potential new customers don't get confused by a sneaky new startup who just wants to make a free buck out of a competitors honestly earned and well deserved success ...

  • by gayrod ( 545101 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:17PM (#2735521) Homepage
    I've seen a lot of "IANAL"s discussing issues like this, but, for once, IAAL. (maybe IAAAL? I am actually a lawyer ;).

    Anyways, Microsoft's claim is entirely legitimate. 'Lindows' is in the same "industry" as 'Windows', and is intentionally abusing the popularity of Windows for its own benefit.

    This is the same as coming up with an electronics company called Panasoanic -- there is the potential for legitimate consumer confusion.

    I know it's unpopular to side with Microsoft on something, but for once they're in the right here.

    As a copyright/trademark lawyer, I'm hoping the courts make the right decision and force Lindows into a name change.

    - Dave Brennins
    • I doubt you are a lawyer. The domain '' doesn't even exist. You might want to register it before you use it for your email address, don't you think?
    • by defunc ( 238921 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:34PM (#2735601)
      Very well said. They have indeed spend many dollars in marketing that name and for someone to come in and piggyback on their name is, well, not fair. Let a database competitor that only run on Linux to come up with the name Loracle and see what Oracle does. MS has a solid case and I have no doubt they will prevail.

      The guys there should have picked something like Winux. After all, it's running windows on linux. Not the other way round.


    • by MrResistor ( 120588 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2001 @11:23PM (#2735764) Homepage
      I'm hoping the courts make the right decision and force Lindows into a name change.

      The right decision would be to invalidate Microsoft's Windows trademark because it's a common word.

      Panasonic, on the other hand, is not a common word, so that's a pretty stupid comparison, isn't it?

    • 'Lindows' is in the same "industry" as 'Windows', and is intentionally abusing the popularity of Windows for its own benefit.

      The question is, are they really abusing it, or just using it. Is it inherently wrong for me to frame my product in terms of its benefits over another product? I really don't see how. Is their a name a reference to Windows? Of course! Will it hurt Microsoft? Probably - if they have a good enough product. Should Microsoft be able to quash that type of thing in court? Probably not.
    • There is the debate of WHY Microsoft would do this. I would agree with the lawyer that Microsoft has a case. And I would go a step further.

      If a trademark holder does not "reasonably" protect its trademark, it will fall in the public domain. The trademark "Aspirin" was actually once awarded to Bayer if I remember correctly.

      So pending the victory of this case, which may not line the coats of Microsoft that thick, it is a step to protect a trademark. If Microsoft let this go, some other product could come up calling itself Bindows. Sooner than later, the Empire of Redmond(R) would have lost Windows(tm) to the public domain.
    • Or Honda vs. Hyunday?
    • 'Lindows' is in the same "industry" as 'Windows', and is intentionally abusing the popularity of Windows for its own benefit.

      Yeah, but not in the way you think. They allow windows programs to run on linux. I don't think I would call that abusing, though.
    • by Nindalf ( 526257 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @03:58AM (#2736387)
      Calling a windowed operating system "Windows" is like naming an automobile "Wheels." It's a generic descriptor, and managing to enforce it as a trademark suggests underhanded legal tactics (in particular scare tactics) against small challengers and generous settlements against large challengers. Either that, or clueless judges, or both.

      Remember MS's defense over the Internet Explorer trademark suit? "Internet Explorer" is too general and vague to be a trademark. "Windows" is just the same. Ditto for "Office," "Word," "Access," "Visual BASIC," and any number of similar names used by MS (I have no idea which ones they claim as trademarks by themselves). You seem to be completely ignoring this aspect.

      Now, if they were making something that sounded confusingly like "Microsoft Windows," MS would have an airtight case. However, MS should never have had a hope of holding "Windows" alone as a trademark, and that they do is a serious failure of the legal process.

      Now, as a lawyer, you are certainly better qualified than I am to predict failures of the legal process; in some areas, I'm sure that common failures are more imporant than the letter of the law. I can't argue with you if you claim that MS will win this, but it is absurd for you to claim that they should win, that a court upholding their exclusive right within the industry to use a standard industry term as a name for the most visible component of their system would be fair and proper.

      There should be no problem with having "IBM Windows," "Sun Windows," etc. let alone "Lindows."

      Now, this last bit has nothing to do with current law, to the best of my knowledge, but I remember hearing a principle of trademarks that I really wish was law: all linguistic trademarks should consist of a proper noun followed by a descriptive term. Nobody should ever own marketing catchphrases, fictional character names, or descriptive terms as trademarks by themselves. (I don't recall the source)
    • Whither X? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hughk ( 248126 )
      There never was an operating system from Microsoft called 'Windows'. The correct names for the operating systems were: Windows 95, 98, NT and then 2000 and XP. Microsoft themselves were concerned about the defensibility of such a generic term, which is why the GUI was known as Microsoft Windows. A GUI called Macrosoft Windows could have a problem though.

      X Windows, the GUI layer sitting on a lot of different operating systems (including, at one stage, MS Windows) has existed almost since MS Windows 1.0. There doesn't seem to have been a contest there.

      MIT plus Digital and a few other companies were behind the first version and it has spread to be an industry standard. They don't seem to have any problems.

      Lindows is a fantasy name composed from Linux and windows, which is already genericised with respect to computers. It is distinctly different. However MS will win. IP law in the US depends upon one thing, the dollar. If you have more of them, you win, whatever the merits of the case.

      • I am actually a lawyer

      Claims "Dave Brennins" aka "gayrod" aka

      whois -h magic hasn't heard of

      Whois Server Version 1.3
      No match for "DAVEBRENNINSLAW.ORG".

      Error - doesn't exist

      Sure, YAAL, whatever. Neat piece of whoring though.

  • by The-Pheon ( 65392 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:19PM (#2735533) Homepage
    according to a quote from a review on the lindows site [].

    It's software that combines Linux and Windows without violating any trademark or copyright--although I bet Microsoft will sue at some point.

    Guess they were right!

  • This is great publicity. So maybe they have to change the name. "Lindows" is a stupid name for a product, anyway.
  • Are my Window Managers infringing? Oh no! I'm so confused. Will Lindows blow like M$? Say it ain't so.
  • by cibrPLUR ( 176588 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:23PM (#2735554) Homepage
    I say that we fight Microsoft by refering to all OS's as 'Windows.'

    Hopefully this will cause Microsoft to lose the trademark name 'Windows' because it will become generic from over usage.
  • by ImaLamer ( 260199 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:25PM (#2735559) Homepage Journal
    "If they're alleging that people are going to be confusing Microsoft Corp. with, I think there's zero potential of that happening," he said. "If people are confused, just remember that we're not the convicted monopolist."

    Murchinson said Microsoft considered legal action a last resort.

    I'm still laughing!

    On Murchinson's comment, it can't be a 'last' resort because they don't stop. When you play monopoly do you just plain give up?

    I don't think suing them will be the last step - it's their first. They can sue easily, they have lawyers. It's like a Soviet Tank rush in Red Alert 2.. hit your enemy before they can build anything, then they can't get back at you; kill slowly from there.

    Windows has become a product of it's own. Not an 'os' anymore. Instead of changing people to linux, change their flavor of windows.
  • by emf ( 68407 )
    This reminds me of the movie "Coming To America"

    They're Mac Donalds; I'm Mic Dowell's.
    They've got the Golden Arches; We've got the Golden Arcs.
    They got the Big Mac; We got the Big Mic.

    We both have 2 all beef pattties, special sauce, but they have a sesame seed bun. Our buns have no seeds.
  • Why doesn't the state of Mississippi sue the crap out of Microsoft? The abbreviation for Mississippi is MS, and so is Microsoft. Hmmmm. I bet the state would lose and have to change its name. I may be on to something here.

    Think about it, Michael Mann could make The Insider, Part Two. Instead of taking on tobacco companies it would be about monopolizing software companies. Anthony Michael Hall can play Bill Gates again, and we can bring Russel Crowe back and have the two go at it in some kind of virtual reality gladiator thing.
    • Why? Because the two aren't in the same market. If some idiot created, say, nifty little coloured glass thingies, designed to be hung in windows and look pretty, and called them 'Windows Decorations' MS wouldn't have a leg to stand on. But when you create a direct competetor to a product, and call it the same damn thing, but for a letter, you're quite obviously trying to draw an immediate connection, and that's not right. If Microsoft put out a UNIX distro called "Winux" or 'MS/Linux' people here would be up in arms. There's a reason Linus Torvalds holds the official trademark of Linux; to prevent dilution.
  • by footility ( 541226 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:31PM (#2735587) Homepage
    I think the Lindows people /knew/ from the beginning that MS would spend /their money/ to give the Lindows a little industry spotlight ;-) Kudos guys.

  • Already attacking the competition before the competition even exits the gate.

    Must be Microsofts new strategy, kill all companies who have threatening names!
  • Call it "Winux" instead

  • Adobe was able to make Killustrator change its name [] to Kontour. Unfortunately, if that went through, I don't see much hope for Lindows...
  • Actually, this makes perfect sense. They're basically doing this as an arguement against the monopoly charge. A real threat to the way they do business. of course, it's just a technicality that the software in question isn't available for sale yet.

    Not saying i agree with it though. And as logical as it seems, if they win, they're proving that they stifle competition through any means available.

    The suit asks the court to order the start-up to stop using the Lindows name and also seeks unspecified monetary damages

    How can they sue for money? has Lindows actually damaged them in someway? If they want them to change the name, fine, let them try, but how much can they really ask for?

    Maybe i'll sue all the Jason's in the world for using MY name. No, i'll sue anyone who's name ends with -son. get them to change their names AND give me money for my effort.
  • How about those who call it Lye-nucks? Then they'd pronounce this Line-does. No confusion there. MS doesn't have a case.
  • Lawsuits (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SILIZIUMM ( 241333 )
    With all that lawsuits from/for Microsoft, mabye we will see a "Microsoft DOJ" soon...

    Speaking on the topic, M$ seems to just sue their "potential competitors", in fact small companies with (for most) great ideas. Theses companies can't afford the costs for the lawsuit and are forced to close. After that, M$ stole a good idea (mabye from that company), put the Microsoft name on it and sell it.

    M$ is going to be everywhere (this is their dream). From PCs to game consoles, telephones, etc. I expect TVs soon (Heh, they should try vacuum cleaner... a good way to suck...). Can we call that "monopoly" ? Will they sue the dictionnaries because there is the words "Windows" and "office" in it ? Do people will wake up when they will live on planet "Windows Earth" ?
  • let the evil bastards sue, it only makes them look bad
  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has decided to defend its well-know trademarked operating system name "Windows" by launching a lawsuit against the glass window pane industry : "All these people selling windows[tm] to homeowners around the globe, it's an intolerable abuse of Microsoft[r] trademarks." declared yesterday Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

    Similarly, Microsoft Corp. has decided to sue the cattle industry for allowing their cows to graze in meadows[tm], and the sun for casting shadows[tm].

  • omg! fake comments! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zenzizi ( 137466 )
    check that ultimate board page! []

    michael robertson has a comment on december 10th
    and then all comments are from a user called "reply"..
    they're mostly posted on the same day..
    they pretend to be from lost of various people
    praising the upcoming system..

    if you check reply's profile
    the email is ""..

    i have not seen as ridiculous in a long time! :)
  • by idonotexist ( 450877 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:58PM (#2735688)
    it is not the final determiner in court. Even a well known mark may become a generic term. For instance, Bayer lost the mark to "asprin." "Kleenex" became a generic term. Microsoft can show their trademark registeration form until they are blow in the face, but, to their disadvantage, the more widely used the term becomes, the more likely Microsoft will lose the mark.

    Microsoft dug their own hole right off the bat. A good test: "What is [it] called?" If the mark is [it] then it is likely to become a generic term. Trademark attorneys have done a great job applying this test by combining additional terms to a potentially generic mark. For instance, perhaps Apple wanted to call their notebooks, "Books." Instead, they merely attached the "i" and the mark became unique.

    Windows? Wthelse are these things to be called? That's generic. And Microsoft has lost any unique attributes to the mark.
    • Bayer lost its trademark for acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) as part of German war reparations at the end of World War I (c.f., Treaty of Versailles). Thus, in France, Russia, the US, and the UK, aspirin is not a trademark of Bayer.

      Note that Bayer also held another trademark at that time: Heroin. But I digress.

      Bayer still holds the trademark aspirin in countries that were not signatories to the Treaty of Versailles.

      On one hand, Bayer's aspirin is not a good example of trademark abandonment because of the Treaty. On the other hand, at the turn of the last century, Bayer was the pharma equivalent of Microsoft (600 kilo gorilla).

      What I'd like to know is why there's no namespace conflict between Windows and X-Windows. Was there a deal done at some point?

    • by idonotexist ( 450877 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @11:43PM (#2735811)
      Conducting additional research on how Microsoft's mark for "Windows" may be generic, I ran across a list of "Trademarks That Have Become Generic. []" The list includes terms "held by the Trademark Office or a court to be incapable of serving as trademarks for the goods and services they named because they had become, in the minds of consumers, generic terms for those products or services."

      So, the test would not be whether Microsoft or a particular judge considers that a mark is a generic term, but if the mark becomes a generic term in the minds of consumers. Perhaps a party could present evidence such as surveys or the online and published usage of a term in a generic sense as a means to describe the thing?
  • This is a very general post about trademark/name law; I'll leave the details to the /. lawyers out there.

    Having the exact same name is not always automatically a trademark infringement; it depends on the nature of your business, the uniqueness of the name, and whether your product could reasonably be confused with the product of the other guy.

    I assume MS's lawers are going after the fact that Lindows is offering a product that is likely to be confused with an Operating System. If Lindows was a hamburger chain the suit wouldn't fly.
    Apple (Records of Beatles fame) and Apple (Computer); Royal this and Royal that; and as someone pointed out NT (Microsoft) and NT (Northern Telecom, which we know know as NorTel); you could probably add "XP" everything lately.

    Apple Computer actually had an out-of-court settlement with Apple Records agreeing not to enter the "music" business. At the time Apple was a small company and a little gun-shy about being threatened with a lawsuit by the Beatles, of all people, so they came to an agreement instead. When the time came for multimedia on the desktop, they just went ahead; Apple Records declined to pursue it.
  • You guys have got it all wrong. This is the best thing that ever happened to Lindows.

    Until now, I'd guess that about 1% of the computer using population has heard of Lindows. What better publicity is there than getting into a lawsuit with Microsoft? Making CNET and ZDNET headlines is a dream come true for them.

    This lawsuit also legitimizes the development work they've done as far as the public is concerned. After all, Microsoft wouldn't sue them if they weren't a real threat.

    And finally, they're going to be forced to ditch the knock-off name. That surely wasn't helping them any.
    • What better publicity is there than getting into a lawsuit with Microsoft?
      Offhand, I'd say 'not being painted as stealing somebody else's hard work. This is going to go through most peoples minds as 'Microsoft works hard to build up a product, then some upstart tries to use that name to sell their own stuff. If their own stuff was any good, they wouldn't feel compelled to try to leech off of another product's name.'
  • I wonder how long it will be before the first post comes along from a 14 year old kneejerk antiwindows fanatic that says.. "IANAL, but Lindows *DOES* have a good case..."
  • by IntelliTubbie ( 29947 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @11:21PM (#2735757)
    Of course we know that Lindows is not officially connected with Microsoft ... but remember, 99.9% of the public (and even most IT majors, according to that article from a couple days back) thinks that Linux is made by a company of the same name. Most people outside the Linux community would be confused into thinking that Lindows is either:
    a) Microsoft's version of Linux
    b) Linux for Microsoft Windows
    c) Microsoft Windows for Linux
    or some other permutation thereof that implies an official connection with/endorsement by Microsoft.

  • Last Resort (Score:2, Funny)

    by i1984 ( 530580 )
    Teary eyed,

    Murchinson said Microsoft considered legal action a last resort.

    "Clearly we prefer to work with them to resolve this problem voluntarily. Their product name infringes on our trademark," Murchinson said. "We hope they will work with us to resolve this problem without the need for legal action."

    Sobbing, he continued: "Oh why do they Force us to sue them! It hurts me right here, (Murchinson placed his hand over his heart and looks to the heavens) whenever we have to sue them."

    Murchinson then, with the tears still streaming down his cheeks and shaking his head, pushed a lonely red button on his desk.

    Moments later, cruel hordes of fur clad lawyers on enormous horses, gravely swinging rusted and blood stained battle axes, thrusting their hardened leather shields toward the brooding skies, with packs angry mastifs biting and growling at their hideously spurred heals, rode ravenous toward yet another glorious conquest.

    Murchinson listened as the horrible clamor of the viciously armed force recedeed in to the wind. Finally he concluded the interview, "if only they hadn't forced me to do this, if only we could have worked something out..."

    Thinking of that poor man, Murchinson, nearly brings tears to my eyes as well. It's just tragic how he so truly didn't want to sue them, but had to... sigh... It just breaks my heart.

  • You really have to hand it to Michael Robertson, first he's sued by the RIAA and the Big 5 while at MP3.Com and now MS comes after him.

    It appears MS has made a tactical error however, at least MP3.Com had money in the bank to pay the settlements. Lindows is just getting off of the ground. Another one to watch is []
  • by Eryq ( 313869 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @11:38PM (#2735800) Homepage
    BETHLEHEM (AP): The Christian Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, announced plans to sue Microsoft for using the name "XP" for its new operating system.

    "The monogram of My Name, formed of the two first letters when written in Greek, "X" and "P" [Chi and Rho], has been in use for well over a thousand years in numerous countries. I am therefore insisting that Microsoft cease using "XP" on its products, as that is tantamount to Taking My Name In Vain."

    Added Christ, "I mean it. Don't make me come down there..."
  • by aozilla ( 133143 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @11:39PM (#2735805) Homepage

    this article on CNET indicates that Microsoft intends to sue them into oblivion.

    Umm, no...

    "We're not asking the court to stop the company from making their products," said Microsoft spokesman Jon Murchinson. "What we're saying is they should not use a name that could confuse the public and infringe on our valuable trademark."

    Fucking slashdot editors... I'm through. I contribute to slashdot no more. This is my last post.

    • Repeat after me:
      Italics is the submitter.

      Would you rather the editors alter your words?
      • Repeat after me:
        Italics is the submitter.

        Repeat after me:
        Slashdot is the publisher. Send Slashdot anything, any infantile ranting will do as long as it slams Microsoft.

        I'd say fuck it, but slashdot continues to amuse me and occupy my attention occasionally. This is however the full extent of the esteem in which I hold this place though.
      • from "aozilla"
        Fucking slashdot editors... I'm through. I contribute to slashdot no more. This is my last post.

        reply to from bankey:
        Repeat after me:
        Italics is the submitter.

        Would you rather the editors alter your words?

        Thus spake the Moose:
        I only have to say, the one article out of 30 that was accepted was of the title: Microsoft article on those were my words.
        and the "this article on" were mine as well. Everything after that I was *grilled*, *filleted* and *slow roasted* for words that were not mine. (I said "interesting idea"..editors says "extensions of MS further monopoly"...granted it was alluded to in the article, but WTF. For the most part, editors don't get grilled on /. mainly the submitter. As aozilla found out...welcome to the club...after it hits you repeatedly you will learn...or not)

        Clearly "bankey" has no clue what an "editor" does...edits, mangles, destroys, clarifies, distills and after all that puts all the above adjectives in a blender and then diseminates it to a readership.

        All I can say to ya'll submitting to /. is:
        If your article is not thought provoking, inflammitory, the cause of a flame war, MS bashing, Linux bashing or in any way counter to any type of groupthink, RI/MP aa hating...well, I seriously doubt you will utter the words "What was I thinking/smoking" when I submitted *that*.

    • So long, and thanks for all the^W^W^W^W^Wfuck off
  • How about they call it GNU/Lindows?
  • Why not change their name to Licrosoft?
    • Or, "Lycrasoft"

      Oh, wrong industry...

      On another note, it's the "X Window System", not "X Windows". That's why your favorite client/server bitmapped display manager's name doesn't infringe on a Microsoft trademark.
      • On another note, it's the "X Window System", not "X Windows". That's why your favorite client/server bitmapped display manager's name doesn't infringe on a Microsoft trademark.

        X is older than MS Windows. That suit wouldn't have a leg to stand on.
    • Microsoft

      OH MY GOD. They stole all the fat and put it into their products. That explains the bloat.
  • I think the guys who invented extreme programming should file a claim against Microsoft for infringing on their "XP" trademark.
  • I think that this plays right into's strategy. They were probably hoping to get sued by Microsoft, get tons of press, get to take shots at Microsoft in the press, and get to be hailed by all as the underdog.

    They probably would have used something like Winux if they hadn't wanted to be a target. How could they not be advised by someone that this would be trademark infringement when naming their company?
  • Milena, Widow of Connar has sent us:
    Death sued for sounding too close to Microsoft's flagship product's name.

    Steeve Ballmer (CEO): A lot of people on the internet do jokes about blue screen of DEATH, when people die, we hear about Widows, people KILL their systems after installing non-certified drivers, DEADLY VIRUS are crippling our systems, all this will change. You know how our stupid our userbase is, If people are stupid enough to buy an OS for 300$ instead of going for an OEM version, these same people could be associating death with our flagship product, Windows, we fought really hard to get the trademarks for that name, heck, I even had to look like a complete monkey to get public awareness on our side, Death will either have to cease to exist or change some of it's naming convention. Microsoft will fight death.... to the death if we have to god damn it!.
  • How might Microsofts NON-prosecution of such software as WinZip [] reflect on this case?

    I've often read that in order to maintain a copyright, one must actively defend it. Of such things are MacDonald's "cease and desist" cases against restaurants in Scotland run by someone with the last name of MacDonald.

    Such non-prosecution of a known commercial company using just such a partial name link-in can only damage their case in prosecuting someone else who only proposes to also use some letters to do the same thing.



  • X.

    Although the name is really XFree86 the common name is X-Windows. How many OSs now run X-Windows? How many platforms?

    Can you say damn near all of 'em boys and girls? I knew that you could.

    MS has failed to vigorously defend the name Windows. I think the case could be made they've lost rights to that trademark.
  • by hyrdra ( 260687 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @12:49AM (#2736023) Homepage Journal
    In times like these I often find it helpful to directly reverse the situation to eliminate any bias:

    For example, what if Microsoft created and was marketing a product called Minux, which was intended to provide the same functionality as Linux and used unique only to Linux technical and architectural concepts?

    Would this not be infringement? Microsoft is dead-on here, and although the Windows trademark is ambigious, you all should remember that it was granted in the first place because the name 'Windows' is in fact unique to the computer industry (whereas a company selling Windows it wouldn't be). When you think of Windows and a computer, you always think of Microsoft.

    The real question remains -- is this an attempt to gain the needed press via the Microsoft hypemobile or does the former CEO really think he has a chance of winning ala Napster? His remark in the article regarding Microsoft's guilt didn't seem to bright and didn't address the real technical question of is it in fact infringement.

    We'll have to see on this one, although I do think this will be good to get Linux in the public eye again and possibly get some major userbases/corporations to look seriously at Linux as a viable alternative.
  • by Evro ( 18923 ) <> on Friday December 21, 2001 @01:17AM (#2736090) Homepage Journal
    This is just like AOL's claim that Aimster is trying to use the term "Aim" in its name to associate itself with AIM. Since I used to work at Aimster I can tell you that this was certainly the case. The name Aimster was chosen, as one would have guessed in August 2000 when it was released, because it was intended to be a combination of AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) and Napster. Then when it became apparent that AOL was going to pursue this as a trademark infringement and try to get the domain, John Deep came up with this crazy story that it's called Aimster because "Aimster" is a nickname for girls named Amy. Then he decided that his daughter (Madeline) would change her name to Aimee.

    It's obvious (to me, at least) that "Lindows" is intended to associate the product with both Linux and Windows. It is a good name for the product (though perhaps more than a bit tacky), much as Aimster was a good name for Aimster back in the day. However, the cleverness of the name has the downside that they're also piggybacking on all the work Microsoft has done to establish and protect the Windows trademark, so they'll probably lose, and I think it's probably in their best interest to simply change their product and domain to something else. That's what I suggested to John about Aimster, but of course I was ignored.

    Then again, Michael Robertson isn't quite as naive as John, and has a lot more credibility and business sense, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about at all.
  • by metis ( 181789 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @02:32AM (#2736246) Homepage
  • by bill.sheehan ( 93856 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:03AM (#2737073) Homepage
    Once upon a time, there was a company in Cambridge, Mass. called Infocom. They made the great text games "Zork," "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," and "Leather Goddesses of Phobos," among others. They had a little newsletter called "The New Zork Times."

    Well, the Great Grey Lady from the Big Apple objected strenuously to this, so the Infocommies started a contest for a new newsletter name. One contributor suggested, "Call it the New YORK Times. Let's really piss 'em off!"

    Millions for defense, but not one penny for tribute, I say!

  • by mactari ( 220786 ) <> on Friday December 21, 2001 @12:55PM (#2737806) Homepage
    Quotes from "Running other OSes" thread:
    >>But with VMWare you have to buy/own a Windows
    >>license, which kind of nullifies the price

    >Use Wine [] then.

    I'm betting that's exactly what Lindows is. A friend and I were discussing Wine's license recently, specifically wrt the percieved lack of contributions from Transgaming's WineX (a DirectX centered fork from Wine -- back into the original codebase.

    It appeared to us that Wine has a pretty open license much like X11's ( The only real stipulation is the following:

    15 The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in
    16 all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

    So how tough would it be to wrap up Wine in a box with a $99 price tag (price from Lindows' FAQ page: Real easy, and legal too. Again, note that with Wine, you can run a ton of Windows software _without_ a licensed copy of Windows.

    So to sum, take open sourced but not "RMS Free" (aka, GPL'd) code, name the result something Microsoft will have a problem with for the free press (as has been mentioned about a million times already), and *poof*, you've got the makings of a 90's style IPO. :^)

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!