Lindows.com Ordered to Change Name

Judges in Finland and Sweden have given Microsoft what it has twice been denied in the U.S.: preliminary injunctions barring Linux vendor Lindows.com from using the Lindows name.

Microsoft sued Lindows.com in the U.S. in December 2001, accusing the company of infringing its Windows trademark and asking the court to bar Lindows.com from using the Lindows name.

The company lost two requests for an injunction and the matter is now for a jury to decide in a trial set to start March 1, 2004.

Across the Pond

European courts appear to be siding with Microsoft. The Redmond, Washington, company sought a preliminary injunction in Finland on November 28 and it was granted on Decemebr 1, company spokesperson Stacy Drake says.

In Sweden, Microsoft requested a preliminary injunction on December 9 and got it on December 10, she says.

Microsoft has also filed a request for a preliminary injunction in the Netherlands and intents to do so in France, where it has already taken the first step in that process by filing a complaint with a local court, Drake says.

"In response to what is a clear and obvious infringement on our trademark, Microsoft has taken action in select international territories to curtail infringing or misleading behavior on the part of Lindows.com," Drake says.

Lindows.com spokesperson Cheryl Schwarzman says the company was unaware of the Finnish preliminary injunction or the filing of a complaint in France. Lindows did know of the Microsoft action in the Netherlands, she says.

Too Competitive?

Lindows.com Chief Executive Officer Michael Robertson in a statement issued in response to the Swedish injunction, lashed out against Microsoft's legal pursuit of his company, accusing Microsoft of using lawsuits "as a battering ram to smash Linux."

Drake denies that Microsoft is trying to stifle competition.

"Microsoft's steps in this case are only about the Lindows name. We are merely asking that Lindows.com change its name, which obviously is meant to copy our Windows brand," she says. "Contrary to Lindows' statements, this is not about Microsoft trying to prevent competition."

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