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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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  • by jjeff ( 80578 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:29PM (#2735575) Homepage
    Yes i may be replying to a troll, but perhaps hes legit..

    there is and has never been anything called X-Windows (AFAIK - anyway MIT's X window system is not called X-Windows).

    there was X11
    then XFree
    Sometime along the lines they merged.. and im not sure of exactly what its called now.. i just know it is a mix of both systems.
  • by gordguide ( 307383 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:59PM (#2735689)
    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.
  • by dangermouse ( 2242 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @11:26PM (#2735773) Homepage
    First of all, it's "copyright", not "copywrite". As in "right to copy", dig?

    Second, this isn't about copyrights. It's about trademarks. And if someone pops up in your market with an extremely similar name and a product that aims to subsume the functionality of yours, it is not unreasonable to consider that an infringement of your trademark.

    You're splitting some pretty fine hairs if you consider these products to be in different markets.. they're both operating systems for x86 computers, and the entire point of Lindows is to offer the same functionality (and then some) of Windows.

    Sorry, but MS is in the right on this one.

  • by thumbtack ( 445103 ) <[moc.onuj] [ta] [kcatbmuht]> on Thursday December 20, 2001 @11:32PM (#2735789)
    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 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2001 @12:02AM (#2735871)
    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?

    A deal between who? Microsoft and the people who erroneously refer to the X windowing system as X-Windows?
  • Re:Idiot! (Score:3, Informative)

    by dangermouse ( 2242 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @12:13AM (#2735910) Homepage
    First of all, I never called anyone an idiot. So you can eat me.

    Second, a trademark is a trademark. Whether it's a company name or a product name is irrelevant. Even if for some reason you think it should, in some alternate universe where logic is based primarily on coin flips, be relevant as a matter of degree, you might recognize that Windows is Microsoft's flagship product. Calling your OS "Lindows" is tantamount to naming your company Nicrosoft.

    And incidentally, I don't think "" is going to stay in business for very long, and one could make a very sound argument that Microsoft has "earned its place".

    See you in hell, dinner plate.

  • by GossG ( 108241 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @03:24AM (#2736337)
    Bayer's trademarks (in the US) were seized as war reparations after WW1 and handed to a US company. That company sold Bayer back to them much later, and lost control of Aspirin as you describe.
  • Re:Nice moderation (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2001 @05:16AM (#2736525)
    (Score:5, Troll)

    Slashdot is the most sensical place on the Internet.

    Not sure on which article you saw this, but here is how it could have happened:

    1. Article is modded up as Insightfule, Interesting, Funny or whatver, until it reaches score 5. The label would be the one of the last moderation (for example: Funny).
    2. Article is modded down as Troll by a Microsoft loozer without a sense of humor: (Score: 4, Troll)
    3. Another moderator thinks that the -1 for troll is unmerited, and mods it up as Underrated. However, the Underrated label is special, because it doesn't show up in the article's header. Score would be back to 5, but the label would still be Troll.
    4. Or, alternatively, maybe the moderator who had done the Troll moderation posts to the same article, and thus annulling the -1 score he attributed to the article (but not his label). This is also how Score: 6 moderations or Score: -2 came to be in the old Slashdcode.
    Posting anonymously, because this comment is discussing moderation, and some moderators don't like that.
  • Re:Innovation (Score:2, Informative)

    by Longstaff ( 70353 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @05:33AM (#2736560)
    I've been using VMware for about 3 years professionally, but I think that you're missing the point. VMware is *great* for compatibility testing and such, but it doesn't support any type of hardware acceleration.

    Running windows in Linux is a very cool thing. It allows people to use linux on their desktop while connecting to the full blown exchange server. VMware simply provides an abstraction layer to the hardware. If it's not supported in the abstraction layer - it doesn't exsist.
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @10:53AM (#2737256) Homepage
    • 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.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.