A judge dismissed Lindows.com's motion for summary judgment last week in its trademark-infringement tangle with Microsoft, leaving the issue to be decided at a jury trial scheduled for April.
Microsoft filed suit against Lindows in the U.S. District Court in Seattle in December 2001, charging that "lindows" infringes on Microsoft's Windows trademark. Lindows.com's counterargument is that "windows" is a generic term for graphical software interfaces.
Lindows.com, based in San Diego, sells a Linux-based operating system, LindowsOS, intended to compete with Microsoft's Windows OS at the low end of the market.
Microsoft initially sought to have Lindows.com barred from using the "lindows" term while the case was being decided. The court rejected that request, after which Lindows.com filed for summary judgment.
Both Lindows.com and Microsoft have presented significant evidence arguing their respective sides of the trademark issue, Judge John C. Coughenour wrote in his decision. Because there is a "genuine issue of material fact regarding the genericness of the Windows mark," the court rejected the summary-judgment motion, he said.
Lindows.com is disappointed by the denial of its motion but heartened by the court's rejection of some of Microsoft arguments, Lindows.com Chief Executive Officer Michael Robertson said in a statement.
Microsoft hailed the court's refusal to rule the Windows trademark generic, and said it is ready to head to trial.
"For the last 20 years, Microsoft has built Windows into one of the most recognizable brands in the world, and we don't think Lindows should be allowed a free ride on our investment," said spokesman Jon Murchinson.