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Microsoft

How Microsoft Takes a Name 600

An anonymous reader writes "According to a report in the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer," the Windows Defender name was already being used by an Australian developer, Adam Lyttle. His Windows Defender product protected Windows users from malicious Web sites. Adam Lyttle told the Post-Intelligencer's Todd Bishop that Microsoft contacted him a month ago, charging him with infringing on the Windows trademark but neglecting to mention that the software giant wanted to use the "Windows Defender" name. Lyttle subsequently signed over rights to the name to Microsoft and was "shocked" when he later learned the company intended to use the name for one of its own products. "
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How Microsoft Takes a Name

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  • by lpangelrob ( 714473 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:04AM (#13988368)
    ...so "yoink" is not the correct answer?
  • Um... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) * <slashdot@uberm0[ ]et ['0.n' in gap]> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:04AM (#13988376) Homepage Journal
    He signed away his rights to the name. What did he expect?
    • Re:Um... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:13AM (#13988454)
      He expected that Microsoft was acting in good faith and not threatening him because they simply wanted to take the full name outright, not merely protect the "Windows" trademark. I expect (and hope he has correspeondences in writing) that they lied to him. Microsoft does not have a trademark on "Windows". Microsoft has a trademark on Microsoft Windows.

      Anyone else remember how Microsoft stole (used without permission) the Internet Explorer trademark held by another company? S.O.P.

      Well, as the inevitable exploits appear for this product, I hope Windows likes being referred to as Windows Surrender. It has a nice zing to it.
      • by flyinwhitey ( 928430 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:25AM (#13988561)
        "He expected that Microsoft was acting in good faith..."

        ROFL
      • Re:Um... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Beatbyte ( 163694 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:33AM (#13989115) Homepage
        He should fire his lawyer. Obviously he or she can't be worth the money.

        He had the rights to the name and signed them away. He should know if he signed something away, then he had something to start with.

        He could have cashed in on the name or forced Microsoft to think of something else (or to muscle someone else around).
      • Re:Um... (Score:5, Funny)

        by operagost ( 62405 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:48AM (#13989232) Homepage Journal
        Well, as the inevitable exploits appear for this product, I hope Windows likes being referred to as Windows Surrender.
        Sounds like the French language version.
        • Re:Um... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Baorc ( 794142 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:00PM (#13989327)
          Sounds like the French language version.

          Hey! I'm French (and by French I mean French-Canadian) and I take offense to that! But just so that we are clear, I don't want to start anything...So leave us alone!...Please don't hurt me...Ok here take it all!!!*runs away*

      • Re:Um... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Formica ( 775485 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:13PM (#13989420)
        Microsoft does have the trademark to the word "Windows" in Australia, where this happened. You can search the Australian database to confirm that: http://pericles.ipaustralia.gov.au/atmoss/falcon.a pplication_start [ipaustralia.gov.au]
      • Re:Um... (Score:5, Informative)

        by pornking ( 121374 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:51PM (#13989811)

        Of course. Bash Microsoft and you get modded up to 5.

        1. Microsoft decided they want to name a product Windows Defender.
        2. They discover that someone else is using the name.
        3. They inform this guy that he is infringing on their trademark.
        4. He decides not to challenge them.
        5. He signs over all rights to the name.
        6. Microsoft announces Windows Defender.

        You claim that Microsoft has no trademark on Windows. That's irrelevant. The guy decided not to fight.

        According to the article, he probably was infringing on their trademark. Microsoft is under no obligation to reveal their product plans to anyone least of someone in a position to potentially profit at their expense.

        Now, the guy's bitching that they didn't tell him while insisting that he would not have wanted a cut. Sounds like sour grapes to me. Now he's acting like he got the shaft while insisting that he would have given them the name freely if they had just trusted him with their confidential marketing plans.

        He lost nothing that he wouldn't have given up freely, (he claims) while gaining publicity and some misguided sympathy.

        Some people just have no class.

        • Re:Um... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:35PM (#13990611)

          3. They inform this guy that he is infringing on their trademark.

          That is called "lying" since he was not infringing their trademark.

          4. He decides not to challenge them.

          Well, if the Australian courts are anything like the US courts, money talks and everyone knows it. What would be the point of his going to court and spending tons of money, only to lose and open himself up to a counter-suit for the millions MS spent in legal fees with their pricey lawyers? I'm sure MS made that very clear to him. Would you have taken that risk?

          You claim that Microsoft has no trademark on Windows. That's irrelevant. The guy decided not to fight.

          It is not irrelevant, it demonstrates that MS lied.

          He lost nothing that he wouldn't have given up freely, (he claims) while gaining publicity and some misguided sympathy. Some people just have no class.

          Yeah like Microsoft. Lying to people and bullying them with the threat of expensive legal action to make them give up the name to something they were making and marketing in good faith shows a complete lack of class. Only the most dyed in the wool Microsoft apologizer could claim this man was not wronged. Or maybe you think lying and barratry are OK for large, wealthy businesses. For the rest of us it is just one more example of why we should never give MS any money for anything.

    • sign of the times (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:47AM (#13988731)
      Has society become so comprehensively capitalized that every act of deception or dishonesty becomes "just business" and the victim's fault?
      • he consulted with a law student and figured that the student knew everything there is to know. he signed away his rights. this isn't capitalism. it's stupidity.
        • Re:sign of the times (Score:5, Informative)

          by Jason Earl ( 1894 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:58AM (#13988831) Homepage Journal

          Heck, if he had been paying attention he would have realized that "Windows" isn't a registered Trademark, but that "Microsoft Windows" is instead. The trademark-ability of "Windows" featured prominently in Microsoft's case against Lindows. Microsoft *paid* Linspire over $20 million to stop using the "Lindows" trademark.

          • Re:sign of the times (Score:5, Informative)

            by Rudolf ( 43885 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:52PM (#13992009)
            Heck, if he had been paying attention he would have realized that "Windows" isn't a registered Trademark, but that "Microsoft Windows" is instead.


            I don't know about the rest of the world, but that's certainly not true in the United States. Looking at the trademark database at the USPTO website shows that Microsoft Corporation holds the trademark "Windows"

            Registration number is 1872264, serial number is 74090419.

            http://www.uspto.gov/index.html [uspto.gov]

            Microsoft is the corporation everyone loves to hate, but at least let's keep the facts somewhat straight.

        • "he consulted with a law student and figured that the student knew everything there is to know."

          Dumb, dumb, dumb...
          Everyone knows they best source of free legal advice is Ask Slashdot
    • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:27AM (#13989070) Homepage Journal
      He signed away his rights to the name. What did he expect?

      More lies, huge legal bills and going bankrupt for nothing. That's what he would have gotten if he fought. M$ would have just used another name and no one would have known better.

      What a nice way to treat your customers, Bill. Wouldn't it have been nicer to have used some of your money to, you know, make a deal and pay him for the name. No, you and your boys would rather threaten and steal from the people buying your software and making things for your crappy OS. What a beautiful ecosystem.

      • by Phat_Tony ( 661117 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:46PM (#13989764)
        "What a nice way to treat your customers"

        Not just their customers, but one of their Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!

        (breath) Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!

        That clip [ntk.net] of Balmer was widely shown, but I think they sneakily cut off the beginning that gives it context, where he said: "If we want anything of theirs, we'll happily massacre our own... Developers! Developers! Developers!..." etc., etc.

  • A rose... (Score:3, Funny)

    by tradiuz ( 926664 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:04AM (#13988379)
    A rose by any other name is worth a million dollars to Microsoft.
  • Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Christopher_G_Lewis ( 260977 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:05AM (#13988380) Homepage
    A trademark is a trademark. If you're violating it, you don't get to ask the owner what they're going to use it for...

    I wonder if anyone had a Coke One® website before Coke make Coke One...

    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by petabyte ( 238821 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:15AM (#13988475)
      Well, what rubs me the wrong way is that "Windows" is trademarked. Does Coke have the trademark on "One" or on "Coke One"? (I honestly don't know). I don't know about you, but when I think Windows, I think of those big glass things in the wall.

      What if he had made that blast retardant stuff for glass windows. The stuff that keeps the windows from shattering in an explosion. Would that still have left him needing to give up the name? Now, if he had called it Microsoft Windows Defender that'd be another story.

      In the end, its probably still not worth the legal fees.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

        by KiloByte ( 825081 )
        Somehow, all lawsuits were dropped when Microsoft robbed the name "Windows Vista" from a couple of window washing liquids manufacturers, a window making company, and the name "Vista" from a slew of other businesses.

        The US law system is basically "who has the money, has everything" (for comparison, in Poland it's "who has ties to the judge, has everything" -- the ties are everywhere but its relatively hard to buy them for money). This means, your trademark doesn't matter if you can't afford the litigation.
        • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

          by saider ( 177166 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:17AM (#13988989)
          Before you get your panties in a bunch, you need to realize a couple things.

          1) Microsoft has a trademark on "Microsoft Windows" and this mark is used in connection with computer software.
          2) A computer software developer using the name "Windows Defender" voluntarily handed over the name to Microsoft.

          So apparantly Microsoft was able to convince the guy that his case for using "Windows Defender" was weak, and they got him to sign it over.

          "Windows Defender" could be argued to generate confusion in the market because when it comes to the word "Windows" with respect to computer software, most of the market (ie. John Q Citizen) is going to assume that it is a Microsoft product. This is the purpose of a trademark.

          A vendor who makes a "Windows Defender" that is a laminate to put on your windows to stormproof them, would face absolutely _no_threat_ whatsoever from Microsoft. This is because they are using "Windows" outside of the computer software market. Any attorney worth their retainer would get this thrown out extremely quickly.

          This is a non-issue.
          • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

            by vagabond_gr ( 762469 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:20PM (#13989499)
            1) Microsoft has a trademark on "Microsoft Windows" and this mark is used in connection with computer software.

            As you said, "Microsoft Windows".

            2) A computer software developer using the name "Windows Defender" voluntarily handed over the name to Microsoft.

            It wasn't "voluntarily", he was threatened. Makes a huge difference.

            "Windows Defender" could be argued to generate confusion in the market because when it comes to the word "Windows" with respect to computer software, most of the market (ie. John Q Citizen) is going to assume that it is a Microsoft product. This is the purpose of a trademark.

            IMHO it couldn't generate confusion but in any case this is irrelevent. When we say that microsoft has a trademark on "Microsoft Windows" and not merely "Windows" we mean exactly that "Windows" by itself can be freely used. If we allow an argument of the style "X Windows", for all X, cannot be used because it generates confusion then what difference does it make from having a trademerk on "Windows"? Windows is a goddamn common word.

            Microsoft just didn't respect the man's right to use the name and lied to him to *make him* give the rights. Ethically (and, I guess, legally in any countries) this is fraud!
      • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by moro_666 ( 414422 ) <kulminaator@gmai ... m minus language> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:31AM (#13988599) Homepage
        this definitely is a stunning question ... what is trademarked and where do the limits go.

        if i invent a glass that can display computer graphics with a simple microchip besides it, make it work as a touchpad tablet pc and install it as a window on houses. can i call my product Windows ? cause they ARE windows, the real windows (not the crappy software of a company that's name suggestes that something is small and soft), but with a little extra.

        nevermind the finger marks on the glass, mommy will wash these away ...

        and what happened to Mike Rowe ? the dude that owned mikerowesoft website ? that doesnt even apply to trademark rules because it his his freaking name (poor dude) and he can't use it ?

        next thing you'll see is an indian claiming trademark on the Apache and his friend ripping off the army with Comanche ...

        WindowsCommander->TotalCommander, WindowsDefender -> TotalDefender ? (should be on the way :p)
        • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pope ( 17780 )
          Mike Rowe deserves no sympathy. He only created his site to bait MS into paying him off, and he knew 100% what he was doing the entire time, with malicious intent. He can spin his pathetic story any way he wants to, I simply refuse to believe that he was that naive to think that he could get away with naming his site as a homonym for one of the biggest and most famous companies on the planet.
          • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

            by trezor ( 555230 )

            I see humour passes as malicious intent these days. C'mon! MikeRoweSoft. It's funny!

            Anyway... When it comes to sympathy. "Malicious intent" from a 17 year old kid goofing around or a hungry, corporate beast with enough lawyers to defeat anybody else on the planet, with a history of malicious intent no less.

            Now just who would I side with?

      • The "Windows" trademark pertains to software products, which is what the guy made. Consumers could reasonably assume that "Windows Defender" was affiliated with MS based on the name alone, which was not true. If he made something that had to do with non-software windows, i.e. the glass kind, there would be no trademark infringement.
      • Per Wikipedia, "It is important to note that trademark rights generally arise out of the use and/or registration (see below) of a mark in connection only with a specific type or range of products or services."

        So no, if he had been selling a product designed to defend glass-in-wall windows, then Microsoft wouldn't have had a very strong case. Their trademark pertains to software. Windows Defender, however, is a piece of software and is clearly referencing Microsoft's trademarked product for its own profit. T
        • Yeah I figured the fact that it was a software product for Windows that did him in.

          Your explaination of Coke was also helpful :). It makes sense that Coke is a trademark and not really One.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Informative)

      by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:19AM (#13988509)
      A trademark is a trademark.

      What the hell is that supposed to mean. Just because Microsoft has registered "Windows" as a trademark doesn't mean there aren't lots of legal ways you can use the word, especially with it being just a generic word.
    • Re:Hmm (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:19AM (#13988510) Homepage
      Sure, but Microsoft does not have a trademark on the word Windows, not in this nor any other domain. They got Microsoft Windows trademarked. Windows is, and has been for a long time, a generic word in the computer field.
      • No it is not. One does not talk about installing a windows on one's computer, like one talks about using a hoover or a band-aid. One talks about installing an operating system.

        Is Linux an "operating system", or is it a "windows"?
        • There is always X Windows. But, anyway, I routinely refer to opening up "windows" in a variety of operating systems.
          (And Linux is neither a windows nor an OS - it's a kernel :-)
          • But it does mean (Score:3, Insightful)

            by hey! ( 33014 )
            that under most trade mark laws that "Windows" bare and by itself, is not sufficiently distinctive to be a trade mark. Therefore we have "Microsoft Windows". However, IIRC it is possible for words to "acquire distinctiveness", and it is conceivable that should MS's strategy of acting as if they have a de facto trade mark on "Windows" might eventually succeed.

            What is curious here, though, is that the situation isn't one covered by the usual layman's write-ups on trade marks. Oh, they cover distinctive
        • by MECC ( 8478 ) *
          "No it is not"

          Windows is not only a generic term in the field of information technology, it is also generic in the fields of data communications, telecommunications, and construction, among many others.

          One might as well claim tradmarks for 'earth', 'wind', and 'fire'.

          Oh, wait....

      • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

        by miffo.swe ( 547642 )
        As a matter of fact i think they do have a trademark on the word "Windows". In court that would not stand for long and should this guy had challenged Microsoft i think they would have rather pony up the dough than loose their trademark. This is evident since Microsoft gladly settled the dispute with Lindows about it rather than go to court.
    • While the inequity of MS in this case is certainly something which gives me gas it's really not all that surprising.

      What concerns me more is this: By signing the agreement, has this fellow now admitted to infringing a trademark for the time in which he did use the name Windows Defender and, if so, has he opened himself up to gratuitous prosecution by the local government? If he were politically active against established authorities in local areas I bet, honestly, that he'd be looking at a state supported
  • Reality check (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kalla ( 254222 )
    Microsoft has only done this about 5,000 times before, why would it be any different this time?
  • Okayyy (Score:2, Insightful)

    MS bought the name off him... and then used it. Shockaroonie!

    They really should have mentioned they wanted the name for a product, so the guy could have hung on to it a bit longer and perhaps got more for it. Perhaps not the most sensible course of action from MS's perspective. Perfectly understandable that they would use copyright infringement as the crowbar to get the name off the guy, but still, pretty disingenuous.
  • While... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BJZQ8 ( 644168 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:06AM (#13988393) Homepage Journal
    While I think that it stinks a bit, he WAS using Windows as part of his product name, which has been ruled several times to be Microsoft's trademark...So I don't think it's out of line with any other legal decisions in Microsoft's favor.
    • Re:While... (Score:2, Redundant)

      by itzdandy ( 183397 )
      i have a product called 'windows creator'
      am i infringing on microsofts trademark?

      what was your answer?

      my product makes small designer windows from flat glss for use in houses.

      now am i infringing on microsofts trademark?

      'windows' is a generic name and use of it does not constitute trademark violation unless the product is in the same market. 'windows defender' was obviously a product in the microsoft windows market so microsoft owned and had rights to the trademark. if the guy had named the product 'OS def
    • Re:While... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PortHaven ( 242123 )
      Guess what.... I have !@#$% Windows in my house. Apple has !@#$% Windows in their OS. Funny thing, when Apple sued Microsoft they were told they could not protect the right because it was a common name.

      Once again, it just goes to show the biggest guy wins. And once again it shows how moronic Intellectual Property rights are.
  • pwned... (Score:2, Funny)

    by dud83 ( 815304 )
    Microsoft pwned this guy :/
  • by cgicw ( 922609 )
    If that tactic failed, they would have moved on to to the next phase - use influence on "3rd party" company to have said company buy him out.
  • Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

    by pjameson ( 880321 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:08AM (#13988412)
    3 MS stories in a row... I need my google/apple fix!!
  • by Synli ( 781075 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:08AM (#13988413)
    Windows Commander is now called TotalCommander. Guess why.
  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:09AM (#13988421) Homepage
    Why can't Microsoft just change the name?

    Since it is a security product from Microsoft, how about a name like:

    Microsoft Maginot Defender
  • 3 in a row (Score:2, Funny)

    by n0dalus ( 807994 )
    Three Microsoft articles in a row?
    Please can we just have some stuff about Google or Linux? This is worse than dupes.
  • by theSpaceCow ( 920198 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:10AM (#13988434)
    Classic case of bullying. But, even as a dumbass kid myself, I reserve the right to call this guy a dumbass kid -- If he's going to just hand over his property, potentially worth millions, he should at least have asked for $35 like that girl who designed the Nike Swoosh.
  • Friends of ours (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FishandChips ( 695645 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:11AM (#13988438) Journal
    Really, this could be the mafia talking - "nothing personal, it's just business", etc. You threaten, you cheat, you BS and just in case there is any comeback you libel the guy by claiming that had you not done any of those things, he would have blackmailed you. Oh, and everyone else behaves like this, you claim, so that's OK too. Another day, another guy pushed through the wood-chipper.

    And people wonder why Microsoft isn't trusted and is fast ending up with negative brand value.
  • "He is working on a number of other programs -- and he gives assurances that none of their names include the word Windows."

    Why? are words from the dictionary trademarkable? If I were to make an Apple Grinder would I be busted (a. if it were a physical apple grinder b. if it were a piece of software for macs that say, made deleted files non-retrievable).

    I don't know - I'm not a lawyer.
    • "Why? are words from the dictionary trademarkable? If I were to make an Apple Grinder would I be busted"?

      I was wondering the same thing about Pella Windows [pella.com]. When is Microsoft going to yank their name?

      • Pella is probably a billion dollar company. Try opening up a small shop called "xxxx Windows" in Remond and see how fast they start throwing bricks through your store windows and how fast sick the lawyers on you.
    • Re:Windows (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gordguide ( 307383 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:48AM (#13988747)
      " ... I don't know - I'm not a lawyer. ... are words from the dictionary trademarkable? ..."

      And even if you were, you'd need one.
      Dictionary words can describe products. Some dictionary words are associated with well known products. And here's the part where even if you were a lawyer, you would want to hire another one:

      You can trademark or trade-name dictionary words. That seems obvious.
      What can you do with that? Here's where your lawyer will probably hire a small firm to assist him.

      Sometimes nothing. Transmission? Right now, consumers associate the word transmission with transmissions. Seems pretty straightforward. Lots of companies have transmission in their names, the names of products, etc. Nobody's suing anyone else. How can this be? Isn't there one big, faceless, avaricious company that can sue all the little companies back into the stone age?

      Well, we kind of answered our own question here. Because transmission isn't automatically associated with any one company or product (right now), anyone can use it, pretty much as they see fit.

      Coke? Seems straightforward as well. Instruct your lawyer to fire those other lawyers, this one we can figure out ourselves. Or can we?

      Coke is an industrial product; it's a specific byproduct of smelting metal. If you were in the business of dealing with this industrial product, you could probably name your company "American Coke" if you wanted. Now, it would be a good time to hire those lawyers again; but you might win. It's a bona fide name for you and what you do with what. The Coca-Cola company's lawyers are going to visit you, maybe. You might end up spending a lot of money defending your name, if they take it that far. But you might win. Or not. Who knows?

      Coca-Cola's lawyers are going to have to prove that "American Coke" is likely to cause confusion amongst consumers with the soft drink "Coke", which they do have an intellectual property interest in. Sometimes people name things deliberately, and they intend to ride on the other product's coat tails. Usually, the courts take a dim view of that.

      But sometimes it's a perfectly reasonable name for a company, perhaps a company in the coke business; and people who are in the business of knowing coke sometimes comes from a blast furnace instead of a 7-11 would not be in the least confused between American Coke and the Coca Cola Company and their respective products. American Coke would do well to listen to the huge law firm the smaller law firm hired by the lawyer, when they suggest they not take the founder's suggestion of a red-and-white corporate logo, and instead make it blue and black. Stuff like that helps sway the court in your favor.

      "Windows" can be part of a company that actually makes, sells, fixes or otherwise deals with transparent stuff we use as building materials. Microsoft can do little about it; the "dictionary word" thing is partly at play here. But, if you're in the computer software business, now we have a potential confusion with your "Windows" and Microsoft's "Windows"; could consumers be confused that one was associated with the other? Probably, yes. Your lawyers will tell you if you won this one or not, but I'd settle, myself.

      Note: I'm not going to argue any of this with anyone. It's just a hypothetical example. Get over it. We'd both end up needing lawyers to figure it out anyway.

      Back on topic

      The poor kid; MS played dirty pool here. Had his first instinct been to just renamed his product "Desktop Defender", he would probably be the one in position to sue MS since his product was there first and was in a similar market (broadly, computer software for MS Windows OS computers). As it was, they played a standard "Art of War" tactic on him by making him assume it was "Windows" they were in a huff about.
  • We already knew that Microsoft was devious and backhanded in its business practices. It shows how much regard the big corp has for the small but dedicated developer. Ultimately, I think this is a good thing - Microsoft, keep on alienating your backers!
  • What a nifty plan....it is even cheaper than buying the rights to the name. All you need is a few threatening letters...I don't welcome our borg^H^H^H^Hbill gates overlord
  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:15AM (#13988480) Journal
    MS is not entitled to tell this guy why they sued for the TM infringement. And this guy really shouldn't be surprised...did he think they would tell him to stop using their name if it wasn't something that they planned to do with it (or his product was costing them money)?

    He should just rename it to something more, hm, original and be done with it.
  • by Munta ( 925134 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:19AM (#13988506) Homepage
    While Microsoft may be right in enforcing its trademark, the question that is important is "why Window needs a defender?". If Windows was stable and secure like other operating systems, then the issue of trademark of Windows Defender would never come into question.

    This is Microsoft shooting its self in the foot again as it just highlights how much their operating systems are missing

  • by PacketScan ( 797299 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:23AM (#13988551)
    You don't sign a contract until a lawyer has looked at it. Of course MS will give themselves the upper hand.. Silly Wabbit.
  • If you are gullible, don't do your homework, and don't hire an attorney when dealing with Microsoft, they'll screw you.

    In other news, if you cover yourself in ground beef and swim with sharks, you may get bitten.
  • Not news, move on (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gtoomey ( 528943 )
    So the ony news part of the story is that Lyttle was "shocked" that MS used the named after he signed it over?

    Give us a break, a naive 22yo being shocked over a minor commercial decision isnt news.

  • Seeing as he was using the name "Windows Defender" to market and distribute his software, it seems clear that he is benifiting by using the name of another product, "Windows", and profiting from its success and marketing. Isn't that textbook infringement? If I made an email app called "Windows Mail", I could expect the same treatment.
  • by mumblestheclown ( 569987 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:37AM (#13988650)
    So, let me see if I have this straight: Microsoft was not just going after somebody who had violated their trademark because they wanted to flex their muscles, but because they actually wanted to use the name that they appeared to be legally entitled to? What bastards!

    What's next? Can we expect to see Slashdot "editors" parroting the anti-science witchcraft nonsense that is used to promote such ideas as "condoms cause AIDS" becaus bill gates has donated a ton of money to combat AIDS in africa?

  • They asked (and probably with some tough-sounding legalese) and he complied. What makes it seem kind of slimy, or at least intellectually dishonest, is that they plan to use the name for their own product, implying that that they told him to stop using it not because it necessarily infringed on their "Windows" trademark, but because they wanted the complete name for their own.

    The front-page blurb doesn't mention if the guy contacted an attorney and said "Hey, can they do this?", he just went along with it.
  • by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:57AM (#13988825) Homepage
    ... call your stuff "Windoze Defender" or "Developer Studio for Micro$loth Windoze" or "FooBar Draw, Lose32 Edition". Everyone will know what you mean, but M$ is unlikely to steal your name...
  • by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:03AM (#13988868)
    Lesse, on the one side we have one guy, with probably less than six digits to spend fighting lawsuits.

    On the other hand, MS probably has a couple floors full of lawyers with nothing else to do. They could send planefuls of them, to sue the poor guy in disparate jurisdictions and countries.

    Given that scenario, is there any doubt who's gonna win, never mind the facts?

  • News at 10! (Score:4, Funny)

    by edunbar93 ( 141167 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:54AM (#13989270)
    Lyttle subsequently signed over rights to the name to Microsoft and was "shocked"

    Man signs pact with devil. See how shocked he is when he realizes he's lost his soul! Film at 11!
  • by Dausha ( 546002 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:40PM (#13989709) Homepage
    He said he contacted a law school friend. In the U.S., that is unauthorized practice of law, and his friend might end up finding it harder to be admitted to his state Bar. However, I'm not sure how it goes in Austrailia. As a U.S. law student, I've been warned enough times to keep my trap shut. Nothing beats the skill of an experienced attorney, and a law student is not.

  • by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:50PM (#13990281)
    If people would RTFA, they would see that:

    1. "he had stopped working on his Windows Defender program nearly a year before that point."

    2. "he said in an interview Monday that he would have given the name to Microsoft just the same had he known the company wanted to use it. ... He said it's actually good, in some ways, to see the name of his discontinued product put to use by Microsoft in such a prominent way."

    3. "it's common for companies not to disclose that type of information in such cases."

    Another sensationalist crap story on Slashdot.
  • by WhiteWolf666 ( 145211 ) <sherwin AT amiran DOT us> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @05:09PM (#13992200) Homepage Journal
    are a total joke.

    Come on.

    'Windows', 'Money', 'Word', 'Project', 'DOS (Disk Operating System)', 'Digital Image', 'Publisher', 'Business Accounting'

    Come on, are ANY of those terms NOT generic?

    Not to mention that in the Lindows case, the U.S. case (not Australia, or Europe, or wherever), the Judge specifically told the Jury they were _only_ allowed to consider usage before the release of MS Windows in determining whether or not the term 'Windows' was generic.

    Given that it could refer to X-Windows, or Windows on my House, or Windows on my Car, or Windows in Physics, I cannot imagine the term as non-generic.

    Now, the phrase, "Microsoft Windows", this might be a different story. But in any court case that played out to the bitter end, I imagine that MS would be forced to disclaim any ownership of the term 'Windows' as it applies by itself.
  • by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @05:16PM (#13992253) Homepage

    In school, you get sent to the office for this sort of thing.

    Of course, the guy was a fool to use the word "Windows" in his product name, since sooner or later Bill would try to fuck him over for doing so.

    The company that makes Windex had better watch out. Bill may want that name to brand his Ajax Web products.

    Hmmm, I wonder if the Ajax (cleanser) people can sue over trademark infringement.

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