Board member sues ICANN over document access

A judge late Friday denied Microsoft's request for a preliminary injunction against startup Lindows.com , thus allowing the startup to continue selling its operating system under the name Lindows.

Lindows is a version of Linux that its maker claims can run Windows programs.

The ruling could also be the first step leading to Microsoft's loss of trademark protection for its Windows operating system's name, though U.S. Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington Judge John C. Coughenour said in his ruling that Friday's decision was only preliminary and "not a conclusive finding that the trademark is invalid."

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft had argued that the close similarity in the Lindows and Windows names would confuse customers and dilute its trademark for Windows products. Microsoft also argued that Windows would be "tarnished" since the LindowsOS would likely not run all Windows applications flawlessly upon release. San Diego-based Lindows.com has said that its operating system will run many, but not all, Windows applications. Microsoft sued Lindows in December, asking the court to bar the company from using the Lindows name and for damages.

For a preliminary injunction to be granted, a judge must see a likelihood of success at trial and irreparable harm being done to the party making the motion. Judge Coughenour did not find these conditions met, he wrote, and also turned aside the "tarnishing" argument, saying "the court views Microsoft's tarnishment argument as specious. Any software program is likely to have some defects upon release, and Microsoft has hardly been immune to these problems."

In what may be the more significant part of the ruling, the judge laid the groundwork for revoking Microsoft's trademark on Windows. He declined, however, to directly address the issue so early in the case, citing timing concerns and the large amount of evidence needed to overturn a trademark.

In his ruling, however, Coughenour noted that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) had rejected Microsoft's initial trademark filing numerous times in the early 1990s. In one of those rejections, the USPTO wrote that "the term Windows was in existence, and known, prior to adoption by the applicant. Since the term is a generic designation for the applicant's goods, then, no amount of evidence of de facto secondary meaning can render the term registerable."

The USPTO also cited multiple filings by then-Microsoft rival Borland Software Corp. for trademarks on products which included the word Windows.

However, in 1995, the USPTO reversed field and "approved registration of the Windows trademark with no analysis or explanation for its reversal," the judge wrote.

The judge also wrote that Microsoft had weakened its case by not taking action against companies that used "Win" or "Windows" in their names or the names of their products.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sam Costello

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?