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The Courts Government Microsoft News

Lindows Takes a Hit in the Netherlands 354

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the taking-the-business-elsewhere dept.
diersing writes "The Register has the latest on it. Resellers of the Linux distribution Lindows in the Netherlands were ordered today to stop selling the product. Amsterdam judge Rullmann agreed with Microsoft that in many ways Lindows is 'profiting from the success of Windows' by infringing on Microsoft's trademarks." This seems to be a rather common occurrence lately.
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Lindows Takes a Hit in the Netherlands

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  • Sure... (Score:3, Funny)

    by cavac (640390) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:11AM (#8133801) Homepage
    ...how are they supposed to mimick windows? You don't have to reboot Lindows every time you move the mouse, so THAT can't be the point :-)
    • Re:Sure... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr. Troll (202208) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:52AM (#8134073) Homepage
      If they aren't trying to mimic MS Windows then why take a name so remarkably close to it? It is so totally obvious. Lindows is trying to ride on Ms's coat tails. The product may be totally different, but that isn't the point. Its just like that Panaphonics VCR, or that Magnetbox TV...

      Why not try "Linux ADVANCE OS" or something. Hell, Linux itself is becoming a buzzword now....
      • Why not try "Linux ADVANCE OS"
        Because Nintendo is even worse than Microsoft when it comes to trademarks?
      • Re:Sure... (Score:3, Funny)

        by boskone (234014)
        "I know a genuine Panaphonics when I see one!" -Homer

        "What do you mean boy? They've got all the top brands here. Sorny, Magnetbox, Panaphonics!" - Homer
  • by tijnbraun (226978) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:11AM (#8133804)
    I'm not really good at translating but I'll give it a try
    Loosely translated from a article [webwereld.nl] on WebWereld (dutch IT news site)

    Dutch judge prohibits the use of the trademark Lindows
    This conclusion was made by the Dutch judge Sj. Rullmann in Amsterdam on Thursday.

    Microsoft claimed during court that Lindows violated its trademark and that the name Lindows is too confusing in comparison to its own product Windows.

    "Lindows profits unlawfully from the success of Windows because Lindows.com too explicitly puts its product in the market as a product which is capable of running both platforms", according to the judge.

    [I don't even understand the next line in Dutch but I'll try: ] Moreover Lindows distinguishes itself [huh?] from Windows because of its name [and] Lindows takes unjustified advantage from the [fuck knows: undistinguishablility?] and reputation of the brand Windows.

    Lindows.com is summoned to cease the violation of the trademark infringement on the brand Windows. The software company of Michael Robertson is also no longer allowed to advertise in the Netherlands.

    Furthermore the four resellers in the Netherlands must stop with the sale and advertisements of Lindows products.

    Also the judge ruled that Lindows must ensure that internet users from the Benelux [BElgium NEtherlands LUXembourg] can no longer access the site www.lindows.com.

    This verdict corresponds to earlier rulings of judges in Finland and Sweden. There the use of the names LindowsOS and Lindows became prohibited in December as well.

    Lindows.com could change its name in the Benelux. According to Erik Vollebregt Clifford Change, the question whether this will happen is uncertain because the sales in the Benelux are not high, but it is up to the lawyer's office of Lindows.com [in the USA]

    Vollebregt: "We just sent the sentence to USA. Hence it still must be determined whether Lindows thinks it makes sense and money worth spending to appeal to the verdict"
    • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:15AM (#8133833) Homepage Journal
      Also the judge ruled that Lindows must ensure that internet users from the Benelux [BElgium NEtherlands LUXembourg] can no longer access the site www.lindows.com.

      They should chanre tha name in that region to (wait for it) BENE LinUX.

      Might even sell well in Italy.
    • Also the judge ruled that Lindows must ensure that internet users from the Benelux [BElgium NEtherlands LUXembourg] can no longer access the site www.lindows.com.

      Another hit for free speech... I don't even see how that makes sense.
    • by storem (117912) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:20AM (#8133856) Homepage
      Also the judge ruled that Lindows must ensure that internet users from the Benelux [BElgium NEtherlands LUXembourg] can no longer access the site www.lindows.com.

      Not that I'm that patriotic or anything, but how on earth can a Dutch judge restrict my ability (I'm Belgian citizen) to visit a particular website (even if it is www.lindows.com) by obliging the owner to deny me access?

      There are no court agreements between the Benelux countries in my opinion, at least a Belgian judge should rule in the same way as the Dutch one to make this ligitimate. This would be different if this ruling was made in the EU (European Union) court in Strassbourg, whose rulings supersede Belgian ones.

      • by ggeens (53767) <ggeens@iggy[ ]d.com ['lan' in gap]> on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:29AM (#8133911) Homepage Journal

        how on earth can a Dutch judge restrict my ability (I'm Belgian citizen) to visit a particular website

        From a fellow Belgian (not a lawyer though): trademarks are common in all three Benelux countries. This means that any judgment in one country might affect the other two.

      • For the protection of a mark the Benelux countries have a shared law called the "Benelux Trade Mark law". A mark can be a name, drawing, print, a combination of a letter and a number, a shape or the packaging of a good or any other sign. It is required that the marks serves to distinguish the goods from an undertaking. The rights to the marks lapses when the registration is crossed-out, the term expires, and when the trademark is not used. The term of a trademark is ten years from the date of registration,
        • A retry:

          For the protection of a mark the Benelux countries have a shared law called the "Benelux Trade Mark law".

          A mark can be a name, drawing, print, a combination of a letter and a number, a shape or the packaging of a good or any other sign. It is required that the marks serves to distinguish the goods from an undertaking. The rights to the marks lapses when the registration is crossed-out, the term expires, and when the trademark is not used. The term of a trademark is ten years from the date of regis

    • > [I don't even understand the next line in Dutch but I'll
      > try: ] Moreover Lindows distinguishes itself [huh?] from
      > Windows because of its name [and] Lindows takes
      > unjustified advantage from the [fuck knows:
      > undistinguishablility?] and reputation of the brand
      > Windows.

      The Dutch sentence is grammatically flawed to begin with, but the (similarly flawed) translation should read:
      Moreover Lindows.com pushes against Windows by the naming of the product Lindows.com draws unjustified advantag
    • They are requiring lindows to ban access from citizens of their country?

      Aside form how stupid that sounds, how are they going to enforce that? Or do they now have jurisdiction in the US?

      If they want to ban it, how about doing it themselves..

      While they may be at fault for playing on the name of windows, This whole scene is just stupid.
  • Others Too (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mork29 (682855) <keith...yelnick@@@us...army...mil> on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:12AM (#8133812) Journal
    "Microsoft is using lawsuits as a battering ram to smash Linux, to prevent it from reaching retail stores".

    I've never heard of any other companies [sco.com] trying this.
    • by D-Cypell (446534)
      Actually, I would imagine SCO would love Linux to reach the mass-market... just as long as they got to set the price tag and receive the cash!
    • Apples and oranges, as far as the legality is concerned. This is a pretty clear-cut case of trademark infringement: hell, they may as well have named their product w1nd0z3

      Well, at least the legal system occasionally works the way it should. BTW, is MS just pursuing a cease and desist, or are they actaully suing for damages?

  • No advertising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by carou (88501)
    The Californian company isn't even allowed to advertise in the Low Countries any longer and, even more remarkable, the judge has ordered Lindows to make its Web site inaccessible to Benelux-based web users.

    Another case of Microsoft pushing Security Through Obscurity?
    • Just ask them not to type in [microsoft.com] the url. Duh...
      • by carou (88501)
        Microsoft today pushed congress to ban the l key from being sold on PC keyboards. A spokesperson said "You don't need to type that key to visit good [microsoft.com] and whoesome [disney.com] websites. On the other hand, that key is essentia to terrorists trying to visit communist [lindows.com] and subversive [slashdot.org] sites. True patriots wi have nothing at a to worry about."
        • Lindows

          Windows

          If i made a company that sold pop and called it Soca-Cola Company, and made the cans red, I think I would get sued by Coke and no one would think that Coca-Cola was wrong, and similarly if I was using Soca-Cola.com to push and sell my wares I would expect it to get shut down, since the judge can't shut it down he asked for the next best thing. Yes there are work arounds, and if you want to work around the law I am sure you can get away with murder too. The fact is Lindows wanted to sound lik

  • It's not so bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tobybuk (633332) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:14AM (#8133823)
    Lots of people will get to hear 'Lindows' as a result of MS legal action who wouldn't have normally.

    As they say, all publicity is good publicity.

    I wonder what Michael's next trick will be.
  • Seriously.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Azureflare (645778) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:15AM (#8133832)
    Could Lindows have made any worse choice of a name? Why did they think they could use Lindows and get away with it?

    I think either:
    (1) The marketing people are lazy
    (2) They feel they can get a leg up by sounding more like "Windows"
    (3) They thought Microsoft will be nice to them. (BWAHHHHAHHAAHAA .. Aha... ha...)

    Throw in the fact that Lindows looks SUSPICIOUSLY like Windows XP, and I think Lindows doesn't really have a leg to stand on.

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

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:22AM (#8133871)
      No, it's:

      (4) Use a very similar name to the very trademarked product name of your competitor in order to get said competitor to persue legal action which has more than a leg to stand on and then ride the wave of publicity and pretend to be a martyr to get sympathy from people on Slashdot.
    • Re:Seriously.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Liselle (684663) * <slashdot AT liselle DOT net> on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:34AM (#8133936) Journal
      There is no "they", there is the Lindows CEO, Michael Robertson. This is the guy who funded the XBOX hacking contest. Any opportunity he has to piss in Microsoft's Cheerios, he will take.
    • Re:Seriously.. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by xlyz (695304)

      as previously discussed [slashdot.org] lindows brand name in english speaking countries is defendable, as windows being a common word is not.

      of course this does not apply where english is not the main language, and windows then become a fully defendable brand.

      M$ is just taking advantage of this (where it can)
    • Throw in the fact that Lindows looks SUSPICIOUSLY like Windows XP, and I think Lindows doesn't really have a leg to stand on.

      Someone tell Apple that there is popular support for the GUI dumbness. Everyone knows that Microsoft has just been riding Apple's GUI coat-tails for years. It's time to launch another lawsuit, this time in Scandinavia where wakdy and respectable looking Intelectual Property judgements can be bought on the cheap.

      Have you ever thought that the name Lindows is a legitimate expressio

      • Try this:

        1. Bring to market a version of Linux with an interface that looks like OS X.
        2. Announce that you're calling it the Lacintosh, or LacOS X.
        3. Count how many milliseconds until Steve Jobs personally serves you with a cease and desist order (and he'd be right to).

        This is just Robertson trying to get publicity for himself. It's a pretty clear case of trademark infringement; if his product is good enough, it shouldn't need to be named something that is only intended to generate confusion in the market
    • how about if they had called it ez-x-lindows? or LindowManager?

      windows itself is a ridiculously chosen name as well(it's like naming an object oriented programming language 'objects' or something and then trying to get everyone else to not call their objects 'objects').

    • Could Lindows have made any worse choice of a name? Why did they think they could use Lindows and get away with it?

      They don't actually have to get away with it to win. Already, they have managed to become rather famous with help from Microsoft's massive PR engine. Let's hear it for the mantra "There's no such thing as bad press"!
  • Lindows' Name (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ianoo (711633) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:16AM (#8133834) Journal
    I've always thought Lindows and "LindowsOS" as they prefer it to be called sounded rather silly anyway. I think Lindows is a nice idea, and a good product, and an excellent way to get more people using Linux. However, much as I dislike some of Microsoft's business practices, I do think the name is too close, and I can see the judgement's point.

    Why not just call it Winux instead? ;)
    • Re:Lindows' Name (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ScoF (530566)
      Why not just call it Winux instead?

      Wouldn't we all be up in arms if Microsoft (sorry my $ key is broken) came out with something related to the name of a Linux distribution? Slackdows, Windrake... yadda yadda...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:18AM (#8133844)
    Could you argue that Linux profits from the success for Unix because it sounds similar?
    • another year of SCO as they try taking that through the courts...
    • No, because Linux and Unix do NOT, in fact, sound similar...

      Linux /li'nuks/

      Unix /yoo'niks/

      (Pronounciations stolen graciously from http://www.dictionary.com [dictionary.com]
    • Valid point, but.....

      The success of Linux has been based by an internet-sauvy grass roots movement that created a whole community of like minded people. I think its the concept more then the name that can be credited.

      As far as profits, the commerical releases of SuSE, RedHat, Mandrake, etc all have names that aren't easily confused with UNIX (where Lindows does mimic a commerical rival and desktop market monolopy owner).

    • ``Could you argue that Linux profits from the success for Unix because it sounds similar?''

      Yes.

      However, the situation is such that this is not very likely to happen. UNIX is a trademark worn by several operating systems; more a description of a type of operating system than the name of a specific product. Linux is a UNIX-like operating system, and could even become UNIX certified at some point.
  • by Riddles (2787) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:18AM (#8133845) Homepage
    The whole point of the judgement is that the judge thinks that Microsoft has proven that Lindows chose the name Lindows because of its relation to Windows. And, since Windows is a registered trademark in the Netherlands, this is obviously an infringement. Remember, Windows in Dutch has no other meaning as it does in English; it is not a common word.

    Nobody can really claim that they chose Lindows for any other reason than the similarity to Windows. They could have chosen a lot of other cool names as Xandros and others have done. They didn't and they made the choice realizing that they might get into legal trouble for doing so.
    • yeah, so what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by twitter (104583) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:43AM (#8134003) Homepage Journal
      Nobody can really claim that they chose Lindows for any other reason than the similarity to Windows.

      Duh, it's Linux that acts like Windows, Lindows, what's wrong with that? No one is going to get confused are they? Lindows does not claim to be from Microsoft. They have claimed some interoperability and ease of use for a Windows user.

      The name is just fine and the trend of monopolizing varients of names is a distrubing new piece of anti-comptitive stupidity. Take it to it's logical conclusion. Is there any name that anyone can use to imply something simply works like or with Windoze? Does IBM still own the names "PC", "personal computer" and "personal system"? No one can do anything if you get too stupid and complient.

      Microsoft is proving that many governments are for sale.

      • Duh, it's Linux that acts like Windows, Lindows, what's wrong with that? No one is going to get confused are they?

        Yeah, they'll get confused. They're practically hominyms. Imagine a novice is in a store and the salesperson says, "and this model comes with Lindows." There's no doubt that there'd be massive customer confusion, which is what trademark law helps prevent.

        It's a publicity stunt; nothing more.

        Illustrator is a common word and a trademark. Macintosh is a common word and a trademark. Tide is a co
  • They had it coming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kieckerjan (38971) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:20AM (#8133855)
    Although I detest this verdict, I cannot say Lindows didn't have it coming. The name is a deliberate gamble. And when you gamble, you win some and you lose some. They won a lot free publicity all around the globe. Now they lost a case. Big deal. It's all in the game.
  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:22AM (#8133867) Homepage Journal
    I am afraid that this is not going to be a very popular opinion on /., but I have to say I agree with the judge.

    Lindows makes a product that is similar in name, appearance, and function to MicroSoft's. They have advertised it as an alternative to Windows. They are clearly out to get people to switch from Windows to LindowsOS by imitating MicroSoft's product. They are just asking for it.

    By the way, it's a tried and true tactic:

    1. Piss people off
    2. Get publicity
    3. PROFIT!!!

    </rant>
  • Make it Lindos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tuqui (96668) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:25AM (#8133882) Homepage
    change the name to Lindos or LindOS, in spanish it means samething like pretty
  • by werdna (39029) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:25AM (#8133889) Journal
    The Judge's ruling regarding Lindows' free-riding is clear. In the United States, where the standard is likelihood of confusion, that element is really a slam-dunk. Virtually identically spelled, identically sounding names for the same class of product, and designed, in large part, to provide a substitute for the original product. Slam-dunk.

    Where Lindows has had excellent success in the US, and more power for them for taking on this monster to do this, is by arguing that the term "Windows" is generic for a GUI-based operating system. If they win, Microsoft loses huge, just huge. Now only would Lindows be allowed to continue, but Microsoft would lose the Windows trademark as against anyone else.
    • Windows generic (Score:2, Interesting)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``arguing that the term "Windows" is generic for a GUI-based operating system''

      I think this makes a lot of sense. Windows is a regular English word, and therefore there is a good argument against it being trademarkable. If it were an acronym, there would be a point, but as it stands, I think the trademark should be invalidated, at least in English-speaking countries.
  • by Ray Radlein (711289) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:26AM (#8133897) Homepage
    In other news, the judge also ruled that "SCO" was too much like "Scum," and ordered them to clean up their act.
  • by nutznboltz (473437)
    Next MS will sue Johnson over "Windex" and General Mills over "Cheerios" for sounding too much like "Windows"
  • What ever became of

    "We are The Nation
    That Lives by Litigation
    "

    Why did this case and ruling not happen in the good old US of A?

    (not that I like the result, I'm just confused why they beat US to it)
    • well, the lawsuit did occur in the usa, and goliath lost

      this ensures continued litigation- had david lost, the courts would have nothing to do..
      now goliath can appeal, and litigation continues.

  • If I went out and started a car company and called it Dord, I would expect to see some legal action headed my way. There's no arguing that they aren't trying to get people to associate their product with Windows, even though its not.
  • Seems to me... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reteo Varala (743) <reteo...varala@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:40AM (#8133979) Homepage
    Seems to me that Lindows chose that name specifically to leech off of Microsoft's mindshare. Let's face it, can you give me another reason that would explain that choice in names?

    Add to this that the distribution acts a little too dangerously like Windows (complete with the default-administrator-user access), and I can't really say that Microsoft isn't justified in it's attacks on this company.

    I work in software retail, and one thing I notice is the number of people who are under the mistaken impression that Lindows is Windows. Add to that the number of people who think it's binary compatibility is perfect (it'll run all their old windows apps). I've yet to see Wine reach that level of accuracy.

    I will generally ward people away from this distribution, and point to the green or blue SuSE boxes on the shelf nearby; that's just as easy, and much more secure. (I used to point to the Redhat boxes, but since the personal version has been discontinued, it's more cost-effective for customers to buy SuSE)
    • Seems to me that Lindows chose that name specifically to leech off of Microsoft's mindshare. Let's face it, can you give me another reason that would explain that choice in names?

      And it seems to me that Microsoft chose the name "Windows" to leech off the collective mindshare of such projects as Xwindows. If they didn't have a problem with their trademark only differing by one letter from an already established project back then, they shouldn't be able to target new projects now.

      I think they should hav
      • by andyt (149701)
        I think their whole tradmark is bunk. This is like naming a program "email" or "compiler" and tradmarking it.

        Or, indeed, "word"...
  • I hear there are cafes there where you do just that.
  • by Monkey Overlord (746151) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:46AM (#8134025) Homepage
    Why is everybody so upset by this? The fact that Microsoft is evil, does not mean they are wrong going after Lindows.
    Lindows tries to emulate MS Windows' look, functionality and even the name. What's worse is that it is not doing any of those things very well either.
    I don't see why Lindows is even out there. What purpose does it serve? Are they trying to confuse people to switch to Linux? I can see how something like that could happen to some Joe-Sixpack who goes to a store sees Lindows OS v.XX on the shelves and thinks it the new version of XP. Also, I can see why someone would want to emulate Windows API to run applications ... makes sense considering that a lot of software is not available for Linux. But the look and the name just don't make sense. If the GUI is the user's problem, he/she should not be using Linix anyways. Jesus, if you are too stupid to figure out which one is the "close window" button in KDE because you are so used to Windows ... you are too dumb, don't reproduce, pick up smoking and drinking and use MS Windows for the rest of your natural life.
  • by SamSim (630795) on Friday January 30, 2004 @08:57AM (#8134119) Homepage Journal
    Mental image of somebody punching Linux. "Oooh! Right in the Netherlands!"
  • by hardcode57 (734460)
    If Lindows need to rename their product, they'll need a name that conjures up an image of something you open, and through which you gain access to where you want to go today. How about calling it Gates?
  • Mikerowesoft Lindows?
  • They could just rename it zzz-XWindows or something. Not just XWindows, but something that includes it. The name would probably be even more upsetting to Microsoft, but at least X clearly predates MS Windows.
  • Next in line, Pella Windows http://www.pella.com/ for having Windows in their company name.
  • X Lindows (Score:4, Interesting)

    by totierne (56891) on Friday January 30, 2004 @09:36AM (#8134438) Homepage Journal
    Or would MIT and apple complain?
    How did Microsoft Windows get a trademark on Windows, is it that different to X Windows?
    • There's no such thing as X Windows. It's X Window System. Or X. Or X Version 11. Or X11. Manual page X(1) for reference.Oh please try to get it.
  • by jamesjw (213986) on Friday January 30, 2004 @10:04AM (#8134731) Homepage

    MikeRowSoft Lindohs? :)

    -- Jim
  • Ouch... (Score:3, Funny)

    by bigfatlamer (149907) on Friday January 30, 2004 @10:41AM (#8135069)
    Man, nothing hurts like a hit in the Netherlands.

    BFL

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