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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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:15PM (#2735511)
    So just change the name to L-Windows. If Micro$haft doesn't like it, then they'd have to take on MIT as well. I'd like to see them try.
  • 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.
  • by SIGFPE ( 97527 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:33PM (#2735593) Homepage
    Maybe they should call it 'L'. People can then informally call it the L-windows system but in court they can just turn round and say "no yer honour, it's called L, not L-windows, we can't control what everyone else calls it".
  • by jasonbw ( 326067 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:38PM (#2735617)
    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.
  • Lawsuits (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SILIZIUMM ( 241333 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:41PM (#2735625) Homepage
    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" ?
  • omg! fake comments! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zenzizi ( 137466 ) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:55PM (#2735679) Homepage Journal
    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 @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?
  • FREEDOM TO INNOVATE (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2001 @11:45PM (#2735820)
    Hmmm...funny thing that microsoft has a campaign on their website against the DOJ for inhibiting on their "FREEDOM TO INNOVATE",...if that is so,..then why do they do just that?

    All answers can be forwarded to the contact information below.

    Microsoft Freedom to Innovate Network
    16625 Redmond Way
    Ste, M-447
    Redmond, WA

    email at

    call us at
  • by A_Non_Moose ( 413034 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @12:40AM (#2735980) Homepage Journal
    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*.

  • by metis ( 181789 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @02:32AM (#2736246) Homepage
  • Re:Innovation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ThatComputerGuy ( 123712 ) <> on Friday December 21, 2001 @04:08AM (#2736408) Homepage
    I tried VMware for quite a while on a K6-2 550 w/ 256 ram and a TNT2. It did not work "beautifully". Sure, a K6-2 isn't the ideal machine to use to emulate a whole other machine, but then again, that's the problem with VMware: it basically emulates a whole new system.

    AFAIK, Lindows runs Windows on top of Linux (just like Win4Lin?), instead of emulating a whole i386 machine. Obviously, this will perform much better than VMware on a low-end machine.

    I haven't tried Lindows or Win4Lin, but I have tried both VMware and Wine, and for obvious reasons, Wine is a ton faster; after all, Wine is just another implementation of the APIs.

    Now tell me, if you're stuck on a 550 as I've been (until tomorrow, 1600+, w00t!), wouldn't you be happy to hear that there's a native Win-on-Linux solution supposedly in the works so you can stop faking a whole other machine?
  • May be Repeating (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Friday December 21, 2001 @09:34AM (#2736994)
    Disclaimer -> Just got started this morning and I don't feel like reading 400 comments so I may be repeating somebody else thoughts.

    Lindows had this planned from the beginning. They knew that by using a deceptively similar name they would get sued and receive tons of free publicity.

    What they should focus on instead is providing a quality product and use regular marketing channels. No Linux distributor should ever sink to this level. It makes them no better than Microsoft. There are plenty of creative names out there that they could use. LinuXacross - bridging the gap between Windows(r) and Linux.

    On another note -> I want so badly for the Linux community to get off of the friggin' Microsoft kick and start focusing on marketing Linux. Linux should not be about how it is better than Windows but how it is a great open operating system on its own with millions (optimistic) of people around the world contributing applications, drivers, support, etc. all for free. Every time you bash Microsoft to an end user they are going to think - "Man. He needs to get a life."
  • 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. :^)

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?