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Microsoft's KO vs "Lindows" Name Goes to Appeal

Microsoft's KO vs "Lindows" Name Goes to Appeal

According to a Reuters report, Microsoft's trademark infringement case against Lindows.com - filed in December 2001, saying "Lindows" was a violation of trademark law - will be delayed "so that an appeals court can rule on an issue regarding the timeframe that should be used to consider the case."

The issue, the report explains:

centers on whether the word "windows" is a generic term in the technology industry, or whether Microsoft can argue that Lindows is violating its trademark by using a term similar to that of its Windows operating system

The issue is muddied by the question of chronology. Should the courts consider the situation before November 1985, in other words - at which time the word "windows" was a generic term - or should it consider the present position? According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge John Coughenour said Tuesday he would instruct a jury to consider only whether the word "windows" was a generic term before November 1985, when the first version of Microsoft's Windows operating system was released. But he said he would allow Microsoft to appeal that ruling.

Meantime Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said that Microosoft would like the court to only consider the present day, and she noted that her company was "pleased that it had been granted its request to take the issue to the appeals court level."

The last word in this particular round goes to Michael Robertson, chief executive of Lindows.com, who said Lindows.com considered it a victory that the District Court judge would want the jury to consider the pre-1985 period.

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Most Recent Comments
pixioto 04/14/04 06:52:17 PM EDT

it could be a mistake, didn't he used to run mp3.com?

Adipex 03/21/04 12:46:13 PM EST

yeah, really now how does napster relate to roberts

Anonymous 02/12/04 09:49:42 AM EST

Linux needs Lindows.com. They seem to be the only company that can market to normal consumers - not geeks. Their products are the best since they do all the little things like plug n play of peripherials which no other Linux does.

It's nice to see them stand up to Microsoft. Why do you think Microsoft is suing these guys instead of say, Lycoris who DIRECTLY copies XP?? Because Lycoris doesn't have the business acumen that Robertson does. He took on the music industry and now he's taken on Microsoft.

XIMIAN 02/11/04 11:09:49 PM EST

WHAT THE HELL DOES NAPSTER HAVE TO DO WITH Roberts? I hate MicroSoft, but LINDOWS makes Linux look bad. I downloaded 4.5 and am sorry I wasted my time. linux for ever! But not with Lindows.

L Samuel Cashwell 02/11/04 10:35:19 PM EST

One of the most “secret” developments in our personal computer industry was, in my opinion, the Xerox Star computer project. Fully functional in 1979, the Xerox Star provided a graphical user interface (GUI): icons, bit-mapped graphics-based text characters, overlapping windows in which processes were displayed and manipulated, and a pointing device called a “mouse”! These tools and the desktop environment gave a user the ability to navigate from one window to another – one job to the next.

It was also in 1979 that Xerox invested heavily in Apple Computer Corporation, and offered to turn over much of the Star computer’s technology and operating system source code. From this occurrence Steve Jobs managed the “Macintosh” computer development that had begun under Jef Raskin (an early-on Apple employee/engineer) – fulfilling their dream of providing the general public with an “appliance” computer. Unpack it; plug it in, and with the Xerox Star’s mouse/icon/windows interface, the computer would be not only easy to set up, but also use!

Another interesting note is the June 30, 2003 publication by Microsoft Corporation of the “Windows Products and Technologies History - Windows Desktop Timeline” (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/WinHistoryProGraphic.mspx). At least they admit that no “Microsoft Windows®” product (first fully operational with 3.11) was even in testing until the latter part of the 1980’s. Prior versions were really nothing more than menu-driven interfaces to GUI-enabled productivity programs, such as MS-Word. Even those few application interfaces were derived from other WYSIWYG applications like WordPerfect and AppleWorks. Apple sued Microsoft, and lost – but that does not change the reality of whom actually first developed and gave to the public at large the windows user interface: Xerox (in their Palo Alto Research Center, PARC).

It is painful for me with 34 years experience in the information technology industry to witness the manipulations of companies such as Microsoft and SCO. The fact is that neither of these companies’ primary leaders have a legitimate claim to intellectual developments on their personal merit. The processes and subsequent technologies they present and sell were acquired through some means, such as purchase or…. Let’s not forget that MS-DOS was developed for IBM by someone who extracted base-line code from the Digital Equipment Corporation’s PDP-computer operating system. UNIX was also an open environment – developing concurrently at Berkeley and Bell Labs.

I have long admired Michael Robertson’s commitment to keeping information technological developments not only free-flowing, but also very affordable for everyone. From Napster to Lindows.com and Click-and-Run, Michael keeps to his personal integrity and sound business ethic. I salute the latest success, and believe that ultimately Lindows.com will be vindicated and restitution made for the staggering legal expenses.

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