Lindows changes OS name to Linspire

Embattled Linux-based software vendor formally changed the name of its desktop operating system from LindowsOS to "Linspire" on Wednesday, after a two-year trademark dispute with Microsoft.

The company said it renamed its OS (operating system) product in an effort to end Microsoft's international legal attacks. The Redmond, Washington, software giant has sued Lindows for trademark infringement in several countries over the similarity between the Windows and Lindows names.

Despite court victories in the U.S. and other countries, a name change is still necessary to counter Microsoft's strategy of suing Lindows around the world, company Chief Executive Officer Michael Robertson said in a statement.

The two companies are still going head-to-head in the U.S. where Microsoft has applied for an appeal over the denial of its injunction requests.

Lindows has said that it hopes to go to trial in the U.S. case as soon as possible and have "windows" declared a generic word. If it wins, Lindows plans to ask the U.S. State Department to petition foreign governments to invalidate Microsoft's Windows trademark. For now, however, Lindows has become Linspire.

The Lindows name will still be used in certain instances in the U.S. and as the corporate name, the company said.

For product information and purchasing, customers are being directed to a new site. On Wednesday the Linspire site still prominently featured the LindowsOS name.

Another site has been set up for corporate information on the company: That site had no content on it Wednesday, save for the small-font moniker ""

In a message posted on the Linspire site, Robertson said that since Lindows has thousands of Web pages and over 100 servers, the transition to the new name will take time.

Lindows' Linspire metamorphosis is the second time this year that the company has undergone a name change in response to its dispute with Microsoft. In February the company formally changed its name to "Lin---s" (pronounced Lindash) in several European countries where Microsoft had won an injunction banning the use of the Lindows name.

A site was erected especially for people in countries where injunctions were issued -- Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (Benelux) -- although that site also remains empty. Earlier this month, a Seattle, judge denied a request by Lindows that it strike a ruling made by a Netherlands court in January ordering the company to make its site inaccessible to people in the Benelux countries.

The Seattle judge also denied Lindows' request that it bar Microsoft from filing trademark suits against it in international courts, dealing a blow to the Linux vendor given that European courts have generally been more sympathetic to Microsoft's case. Lindows did have luck with a French court last week, however, when it denied Microsoft's request for a preliminary injunction.

Microsoft representatives were not immediately available to comment on whether the latest name change would end its litigation efforts against Lindows. The company has said previously that the goal of its legal actions has been a name change that won't obviously infringe on its Windows brand name.

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Scarlet Pruitt

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