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Lindows Ordered To Stop Using Lindows Name 922

TheSpoom writes "InfoWorld reports that Lindows, a distribution of Linux and other software designed to emulate Windows, has been ordered to drop their name after Microsoft won a preliminary injunction yesterday from judges in Finland and Sweden."
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Lindows Ordered To Stop Using Lindows Name

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  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AnnCoulterTroll ( 722864 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:41AM (#7700349) Journal
    Now will Wine have to change its name because of the Win part of its name?
    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Masarand ( 598211 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:21PM (#7701620)
      The problem with Wine is that is sounds like "Whine" and will therefore be associated with the Microsoft brand. I can see a trademark dispute here...
  • by shystershep ( 643874 ) * <bdshepherd@gmaiTWAINl.com minus author> on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:41AM (#7700350) Homepage Journal
    Here's another article at the Reg [theregister.co.uk] about this, and one at Newsforge [newsforge.com] about Lindows new website, ChoicePC [choicepc.com] for taking donations to help Lindows European resellers fight this.
    • by BigBlockMopar ( 191202 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:49AM (#7700437) Homepage

      In other news, Ford has recently demanded that Microsoft stop using the name "Explorer", as in Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer. Ford cites the 1990 introduction of the Explorer as evidence that they had the name first.

      The many reliability and safety problems with Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer cause confusion among Ford Explorer customers who are themselves accustomed to these traits, a Ford spokesman said Friday.

      • Re:In Other News... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Florian Weimer ( 88405 ) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:04AM (#7700636) Homepage
        In other news, Ford has recently demanded that Microsoft stop using the name "Explorer", as in Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer. Ford cites the 1990 introduction of the Explorer as evidence that they had the name first.

        In Germany, Microsoft has allegedly licensed the Explorer trademark from a relatively unknown software company. At some time, this software company was rigorously protecting its trademark against those who offered or recommended software such as "FTP Explorer".
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:15AM (#7700764)
        I don't agree with the decision but clearly you can see the difference between an Operating System and a car. It is a lot harder to tell the difference between one operating system and another especially when one is specifically designed to mimic the other. It is pretty obvious that Lindows intentionally named their product for just this sort of attention. It is not all that clever or catchy of a name by itself.
        • by Joe Tie. ( 567096 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:20PM (#7701602)
          I do see the distinction you, and the law make on this. But on the other hand, I also maintain that a person would have to be either very gullible, or very stupid to have any more likelihood of mistaking the two explorers and windows/lindows. I'm by no means an expert on watches, but if someone offered to sell me a Bolex watch I don't think I'd have much of a problem figuring out what was wrong with the situation.
        • Re:In Other News... (Score:5, Informative)

          by unclethursday ( 664807 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:48PM (#7702000)
          It is pretty obvious that Lindows intentionally named their product for just this sort of attention.

          You may be right, but Lindows is using a tactic in their US court case that may work. May.

          They're saying that "Windows" is a generic computing term, especially in GUIs (which it is). You are not supposed to be allowed to trademark generic terms.

          If that part works, then Microsoft will lose their trademark on "Windows" by itself. They could still have thier trademark on the phrase "Microsoft Windows", but they would no longer be allowed to have the word "Windows" itself trademarked, like it is now.

          They're also going after the fact that Microsoft has failed to try and protect their trademark in the past, and that the only reason they are doing so now is because the Lindows.com "LindowsOS" is a competitor. (Trademark laws state you can and will lose your trademark if it is not actively defended.)

          So far, it seems US courts seem to be agreeing with Lindows.com on the issue.

          • by Call Me Black Cloud ( 616282 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @02:01PM (#7702977)
            that the only reason they [MS] are doing so now is because the Lindows.com "LindowsOS" is a competitor.

            Well of course. MS isn't going to sue Pella over the use of "windows" in their product names. "Lindows" is marketed as a replacement for Windows (the product website is peppered with references to Windows), the UI looks like Windows (fairly generic to be sure, but some things came from MS, such as the "Start" button in the lower left hand corner), and certainly when the name "Lindows" was coined it wasn't with the generic "windows" usage in mind.

            Lindows is clearly trafficking on the Windows product name and not the generic term - their whole business model is built on replacing Windows. I think the court ruled correctly in this instance.
          • Language (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Rimbo ( 139781 ) <rimbosity@sbc g l o b a l . n et> on Friday December 12, 2003 @02:52PM (#7703647) Homepage Journal
            I think a reason that MS is having more success in Europe is language. Consider this: You wouldn't consider trademarking "The Road." It's... the frickin' road. But then say "El Camino," and at least we Americans who are old enough immediately think of a certain miniature pickup truck.

            If you're in a country where English is a second or outright foreign language, "Windows" might thus seem to be more like something you could trademark. And "Lindows" might seem to be an obvious attempt to capitalize on the name, as if another car company had released a pickup truck called "Los Caminos."
    • And folks do grab your chance - put your money where your mouth is - and make that Donation (anonymous if you need to and are worried about google). 100$ is not that much - and 500x100$ = 50.000, which in Europe is quite a fortune when it comes to decent legal defence.

      Head to http://www.choicepc.com/ [choicepc.com] and get yourself that t-Shirt you cannot buy at the gap.


      • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:19AM (#7700805) Journal
        The CEO/Founder of lindows is worth 50,000,000 to 100,000,000 USD.

        Sorry, I don't donate money to people with 10's of millions in the bank.
        • "Sorry, I don't donate money to people with 10's of millions in the bank."

          I don't donate to companies that intentionally waste that donation on frivilous lawsuits. Calling it Lindows was really stupid. They had every expectation they'd be sued for it. And now they're acting like the big evil company is swooping down on them. This isn't about trying to right some wrong, it's about attacking Microsoft. Sorry, but any donations I make are going towards changing the DMCA, not towards some idiot CEO picki
    • by t0ny ( 590331 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:24AM (#7700865)
      Just to help this case and assure the party in the right succeeds, Im going to suggest to my boss that we buy three more Windows servers.

      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."

      Anyone who says that the name "Lindows" doesnt violate the trademark of "Windows" is a real hypocrite. If MS came out with a program called Winix, you guys would be going apeshit.

      Even funnier is this Robertson idiot making this case out to be some kind of assult on Linux, rather than an attempt to get him to rename product.

      • by avdp ( 22065 ) * on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:43AM (#7701125)
        I doubt anyone would care about something called Winix, but you're missing the point anyway. Believe it or not (and regarless of what Robertson claims) this is not really a Linux vs Microsoft fight.

        The problem with "Windows" as a trademark is that it's a generic term. Microsoft should not have an exclusive rights to the word "Windows". Even in software "Windows" is a generic term used in every graphical operating system. That was the basis of the (so far successful) defense in the US.

        Now, if Robertson was trying to sell something named "MSLindows", then I think Microsoft would have a claim that I would understand/defend/support.
      • >> Anyone who says that the name "Lindows" doesnt violate the trademark of "Windows" is a real hypocrite. If MS came out with a program called Winix, you guys would be going apeshit.

        Uh? Hello? Minix, Linux. Let's think about this for just a second.... Hmmm.... Linux was made to be like minix, which coincidentally rhymes. Hmmmm... No, I think I'd be the hypocrite if I got mad at Lindows when I use an OS whose name ryhmes with what it was modeled after.

        (Long Live Linux!)

  • by ericspinder ( 146776 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:42AM (#7700356) Journal
    How about the name Winix, or the OS formally named "Lindows",
  • +5, Ironic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by locknloll ( 638243 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:43AM (#7700363) Homepage
    ...that it's just Finland, the cradle of Linux, where this happened...
  • Doesn't stop them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cyclopedian ( 163375 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:43AM (#7700364) Journal
    I'm not sure, but I think this doesn't stop Lindows from selling it in the United States. The market for Lindows is greater in the US than outside of it, so this isn't as if the sky is falling.


    • by Talthane ( 699885 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:08AM (#7700682)

      You're looking at it the wrong way round. Which could Microsoft lose more from, being deprived of licences in Europe or deprived of licences in the US?

      Current population of the US = 270m-ish. Current population of Europe = 730m. And Europe has a relatively low rate of piracy.

      Factor in that the EU has shown (in the Windows Media Player case) that it's quite prepared to crack down hard on MS - in contrast to the US government - and it's no surprise that Microsoft is more concerned about European investments than American ones right now, and doing whatever it can to attack competitors' interests.

      No, the sky isn't falling, but if you think that events in Europe can't affect those in America and it can't possibly affect you what Microsoft does over here, I suggest you talk to those people who narrowly avoided having their businesses crushed by a massive trade war over steel tariffs the other week.

      Not to sound too nationalistic, but Europe is much bigger than the US - it's just more disorganised, and hamstrung by the French. ;-)

  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:43AM (#7700365)

    "Lindowz" .... it IS a change!

    "Windows"... why not go all the way?

    "Bill Gates is a Jerk"

    "Unix". No one would ever bother a company over anything to do with Linux

    • How about-- (Score:3, Informative)

      by einhverfr ( 238914 )
      SELECT disclamer FROM ianal;

      The Lindow Operating System.

      First, Microsoft will have a harder time attacking this due to the fact that it is closer to "X Window System" than it is to "Microsoft Windows."

      Personally, I think that the WIndows trademark should be nullified simply because there are other, older software packages still in common usage, particularly X who share a very common name. Since trademarks cannot be selectively enforced, this creates a bit of a narrow trademark for Microsoft. IANAL, but
  • by pheared ( 446683 ) <kevinNO@SPAMpheared.net> on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:43AM (#7700368) Homepage
    The Lindows name is stupid anyway.
    • To a geek may be, not to average joe.

      Legal or not, the name was indeed choose to be phonetically similar to Windows.

      People often confuse similar sounding names, and tend to associate them together. My guess is, any average Windows user, would be much more comfortable with a suggestion such as Lindows, rather than say something like Knoppix.

      • Are you serious? To average Joe, "Lindows" sounds like a cheep take off of Windows. It sounds like a peice of shit immitation.

        "Linux" sounds unique and is beginning to have it's own name recognition. Using the Linux name is far better in the long run, and long run is what matters.
  • by LazloToth ( 623604 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:44AM (#7700372)

    'Nuff said.
  • Wind... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:44AM (#7700377) Homepage Journal
    What does this mean for Windex [windexglasscleaner.com]?
  • Easy (Score:3, Funny)

    by An Anonymous Hero ( 443895 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:46AM (#7700396)
    Just change the name to Winux!
  • Wrong impression (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dew-genen-ny ( 617738 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:48AM (#7700419) Homepage
    Lindows as a name gives the wrong impression about where linux wants to be anyway.

    They should concentrate on marketing their product as a decent OS and not a cheap and inferior copy of windows.
    • by evilquaker ( 35963 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:54AM (#7700495)
      Lindows as a name gives the wrong impression about where linux wants to be anyway.

      They should concentrate on marketing their product as a decent OS and not a cheap and inferior copy of windows.

      How did the goals of Michael Robertson's Lindows become the same as those of Linus Torvalds' Linux? As far as I can tell, a "cheap and inferior copy of Windows" is exactly what Lindows wants to be... it's kind of like the Simpsons episode where Homer's looking for a TV at an outlet mall: "I know a genuine Panaphonics when I see it. And look, there's Magnetbox and Sorny."

  • More FUD from M$ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by F34nor ( 321515 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:49AM (#7700426)
    Such a stupid decision. Windows is a universal computing term that they adopted, I'd have more sympthy if Xerox Park sued. And there is no reasonable cause to assume that a consumer could mistake Windows for Lindows. It's a pretty clear case I'm very suprised that a judge supported this pile of steaming horse crap.
  • didnt know? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:49AM (#7700428) Homepage Journal
    i read an article on this earlier (dont remember if it was the one linked)

    a spokesperson for Lindows says that the company was unaware of the suits filed by microsoft in Finland and Sweden. This means Lindows didnt have opportunity to defend themselves. IANAL, and certainly not one overseas, but who's job is it to inform a defendant of a lawsuit? The court? The plaintiff (MS in ths case)? or (remember this isnt the US) does MS simply have to make their argument for preliminary injunction without the judge being presented counter arguments?
    • Re:didnt know? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Scarblac ( 122480 ) <slashdot@gerlich.nl> on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:06AM (#7700664) Homepage

      Recently there was something similar in the news (I thought it was on Slashdot, but I can't find it right now).

      Lindows has no presence in the Netherlands. However, there was one small PC salesman from a village in a rural area that was going to sell them.

      He got an official letter from Microsoft, explaining that since Lindows had no presence and he was the only one selling, they were going to sue him over the trademark issue. The Lindows top man heard of this, and announced he would go to the Netherlands immediately to find out what was going on. The small salesman was rather overwhelmed by all the attention.

      But it now seems like MS may have been doing this all over Europe, and it's gone mostly unnoticed by Lindows.

    • Re:didnt know? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dusabre ( 176445 )
      In many jurisdictions you can get a temporary/preliminary injunction immediately after filing a suit and an injunction motion. The judge reviews the motions and if he finds it acceptable, rules. The defendant then gets sent the injunction and suit. The injunction can usually be appealed. The grounds for the granting of an injunction are usually more stringent than those for obtaining a favourable end result (probability of success has to be shown as well as a pressing and immediate need to stop the activity
  • by TekPolitik ( 147802 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:49AM (#7700434) Journal
    In countries with WASPish legal systems, trademark laws only tend to protect against "similar" marks if they have the potential to create confusion. In continental Europe, they tend to protect where the newer mark attempts to capitalise on the goodwill of the earlier mark, even though there may be no prospect of confusion. Different underlying philosophies, different laws, different results.
  • by pesc ( 147035 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:49AM (#7700438)
    I live in Sweden, and I'm not aware that Lindows is available for sale here. I don't think the general public (outside of Slashdot) knows anything about it. So if they would like to market it here, just give it a new name first. No big deal.

    And seriously, I kind of agree with the judges. "Lindows" is a bit too close to "Windows". They should try to build their own name by themselves.
  • by Burlynerd ( 535250 ) * on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:50AM (#7700443)
    They need to focus on invalidating the trademark word "Windows" first, then Lindows wouldn't be infringing on anything. Microsoft should never have been able to trademark such a ubiquitous term.

  • Darlsux (Score:4, Funny)

    by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:51AM (#7700459)
    Now about the lawsuit-proof name "Darlsux" ?

  • Quite Correct (Score:5, Insightful)

    by racer7890 ( 641952 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:52AM (#7700466)
    This ruling is quite correct. I am no Microsoft fan but the Lindows name was clearly intended to play off the Windows name. It is my theory that Lindows purposefully chose this name to get the publicity it is getting now. Other attacks at Microsoft (such as the Lindows offer for Californian residents based on the anti-trust settlement) play into this.
  • comprehensible? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by colinleroy ( 592025 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @10:54AM (#7700494) Homepage
    The fact that Microsoft has a hard time winning this in the US may be due to the fact that in this english-speaking country, "windows" is a common word meaning "openable thing made out of glass". In Finland and Sweden, this is not the case. Maybe this explains this injunction?
    • Re:comprehensible? (Score:3, Informative)

      by lawpoop ( 604919 )
      I am an American who spent about a year in Finland. I would say, that yes, most Finns and Swedes know enough English to know what 'window' means. There is no cognate (false or otherwise ) in either language (Fenster (or something like that) in Swedish, ikkuna in Finnish).

      So, if the courts are going strictly on the populace's native language(s) and usage, then yes, windows is a unique, trademarkable word (if their legal system is like ours). Certainly Finns and Swedes know that window is a common English wo

    • Re:comprehensible? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by One Louder ( 595430 )
      Microsoft is probably going to lose the case in the Untited States - the word "windows" is a generic term commonly used in computer science and Microsoft should never have been granted the trademark.

      In non-English-speaking countries, the term is no longer generic - it becomes "fanciful", and therefore protectable, and Microsoft might win in those countries, though given the scrutiny they're under in the EU, this is not a given. Lindows.com isn't big enough to sell the same product under too different names,

  • I still want to know how the word "Windows" can be trademarked. Especially when Microsoft's own CEO refers to windowing systems in a very generic way.

    Comments from Deposition of William H. Gates... [lindows.com]
    "Virtually every application has the ability to put multiple things on the screen that you'd call windowing. ...that goes back even before the '60s."
    "The idea of splitting a screen up so you have one thing in one place and something in another place I think has been referred to windowing, certainly in the '60s that was called windowing."

  • by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:02AM (#7700612) Homepage
    MS lost their attempt to do this in the USA very badly. Indeed, the judge was even musing if they deserved trademark protection for the name "Windows" at ALL.

    Lindows could file suit to attack their "Windows" trademark in the US, and offer to drop it only if MS agrees to quit these nusiance suits.

    Since both are US companies, I also don't see why Lindows couldn't file an unfair competition suit against Microsoft in the US, along with claims they are violating thier anti-trust settlement.
  • Longhorn (Score:5, Funny)

    by big-giant-head ( 148077 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:10AM (#7700708)
    In another court action today, the US District Court in Austin handed down an injunction against MS for using the code name longhorn, requested by the University of Texas. The school nickname is the longhorns and the schools mascot is a drugged neutered bull named Bevo, who wanders aimlessly about and craps all day.

    UT Students were getting confused since both MS longhorn and Bevo's BM are both Stinking piles of crap. Further more UT football players, trained to lay down and play dead at the site of BEVO (witness the Arkansas and OU games) were now getting confused and doing the same thing in their computer lab. This has resulted in half the team being ineligilble for the Poulan-weedeater-holiday-trailmix bowl.

    UT coach Mack "Roscoe P. Coltrane" brown had the following statement:

    "IIII Know ol Bill Gates really did'nt mean any harm to us, but since the wind kept shifting directions the players were confused which crap there were smelling longhorn crap, Bevo crap or my crap". "I really thought we could keep them focused on thier school work, as soon as that Windows Start up screen came on, there they went, locked up, feel straight over, with that same glassy eyed look they get in the cotton bowl every year."
  • by photonic ( 584757 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:13AM (#7700735)
    Although in hate Microsoft like the rest of you, I do believe they have a point: Lindows is an obvious reference to the similar product Windows.

    Take a for example a look at the products of Sanex [cap.com.cy], and the blatant clone Sanicur [sanicur.com] (same sounding name, same colour scheme).

    I would guess that Sanex would be more than happy to sue the other company into oblivion, but they are apparently not able to do so.
  • by bfg9000 ( 726447 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:15AM (#7700765) Homepage Journal
    Lindows was also ordered to stop crashing so bloody much, as that is obviously another attempt to copy the winning Microsoft formula.

    Said a Microsoft spokesman, "Stealing our good name is one thing, but stealing our functionality is clearly another. Our regular crashes are part of the "Microsoft Advantage"(TM), and our astronomically flukey market share is evidence enough that the people want lots of crashes, and we aim to deliver. We give the people what they want. If Lindows starts copying our patented "Crash-n-Burn Technology(TM)", we are liable to lose marketshare, and that is completely unacceptable and is punishable by immediate and lethal MS military action. We WILL defend ourselves against encroachments on our instability monopoly. Word. Oh, yeah, if those Apple guys are listening, I hear they had a security hole or two last week. Better watch it Steve, I don't remember you licensing insecurity from us...."

    Apple quickly backed off by patching their security holes as ordered by Microsoft, in what was an obvious attempt to pacify Microsoft's legal department and rectify what Apple still claims was an "accident".
    • by raindog2 ( 91790 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:43PM (#7701929) Homepage
      Parent deserves to be +5 Funny, but in all seriousness, I just bought someone one of those laptops with Lindows preloaded. Just in the hour or so I spent configuring the network, changing desktop settings, etc. using their modified KDE control center, the X server must have crashed 6 times, and once, the machine locked up hard and when it came back it never made it into X at all (there turned out to be a problem with their cups startup script that only manifested after the net was configured.) It took me back to 1994 when Linux was still a toy....

      I recognize the place for distributions like Lindows (enough to spend money on it and even buy a lifetime CNR subscription at choicepc.com), but Robertson and the gang have very plainly taken the "ease of use over stability" route, and it's not a joke.
  • by pavera ( 320634 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @11:25AM (#7700877) Homepage Journal
    Every time something bad happens tech-wise in a court in the US, this place is crazy with comment of how the US sucks, how horrid the legal system is here, how its just stupid what companies can get away with in court, now a stupid ruling is handed down in a European court and everyone is mum... no one seems upset at the legal system, in fact most people here are defending the decision as a good one, even though when MS tried this stunt in the US system they failed. So much for the Europeans living up to their liberal ideals and standing up for the little guy....
    • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:46PM (#7701974) Journal
      So much for the Europeans living up to their liberal ideals and standing up for the little guy....

      Eh? People shouldn't expect a court system to 'stand up for the little guy'. Courts should impartially apply the laws of the land. If by so doing, the 'little guy' wins, then so be it.

      If this court has correctly applied the law (and come on, people, it's not that big a stretch to see that the name Lindows might have been deliberately chosen to be readily associated with Windows) then that's the way that I suspect most people expect the European courts to work. One should also note that trademark laws in Europe versus trademark laws in the United States though similar are not identical. That court cases on different sides of the ocean produced different outcomes may be a consequence of those legal differences.

      Note also that trademark law is not uniform across Europe. Microsoft may have deliberately chosen Finnish and Swedish courts to pursue these claims first, because they felt the laws would be most amenable in those jurisdictions. (I don't know anything about Finnish law--this is a hypothesis.)

      Finally, this is a preliminary injunction. Microsoft has asserted that Lindows is doing them harm, and until those claims are fully tested in court, Lindows has been temporarily barred from the use of their name. If it is later determined that they are not diluting Microsoft's trademarks, Lindows can sue MS for damages associated with the injunction.

  • by a1cypher ( 619776 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @12:49PM (#7702011) Homepage
    Heres a name that I like.... Doors - "its easier to walk through a door than it is to jump through a window".
  • Problems with this: (Score:5, Informative)

    by popo ( 107611 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @01:01PM (#7702178) Homepage
    The question here is about the "Scope" of a trademark, and whether "Lindows" is confusable.

    Typically if a trademark is huge (like Pepsi, Nike, etc.) the scope of the mark is larger and more leeway is given to the holder of the mark.

    On the other hand, there is a long established history of "sound alike" marks. The famous mid-century German camera was the "Leica". The not-so-famous japanese clone was the "Ricoh" (which with a Japanese accent was indistinguishable.)

    It should also be said that "Window" is *not* a Microsoft trademark. Apple's first Macintosh OS used the term "Window" to describe an enclosed area of screen real-estate used by a specific application. This is important because a trademark should *not* be descriptive in terms of functional value.

    So part of the issue here is the strength and recognizability of the "Windows" trademark (which granted is huge) versus the functional, descriptive, and commonly used term "Window".

    The judge clearly gave Microsoft a wide berth in terms of ownership -- making the judgement call that "Lindows" was in fact too close to "Windows" -- which in turn raises some questions: What about AOL's "Messenger" product -- has Microsoft infringed? What about "StarOffice"? (or "OpenOffice"?). Let's not forget that "Office" is also a Microsoft trademark.

    One could then argue that "Messenger" is in fact a 'descriptive, functional' term... but then again... so is "Windows".

    The crux of the problem is this: In the rapid development process of software creation and technology in general, the 'descriptive/functional term' and the 'protectable tradename' are typically closely linked.

    Given that one cannot trademark a term that describes 'functional value', this presents an inherent problem with software and technology trademarks, and gives an unfair advantages to the first mover, or the established market leader.

  • by butane_bob2003 ( 632007 ) on Friday December 12, 2003 @02:33PM (#7703404) Homepage
    ... from now on, our distribution will be known as 'Windux'.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"