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April 14, 2004

Lindows changes name to avoid Microsoft trademark

Linux distributor Lindows.com Inc has changed its product name to Linspire in order to avoid Microsoft Corp trademark infringement complaints around the world.

By CBR Staff Writer

The San Diego, California-based desktop Linux specialist will continue to use the Lindow.com name in the US in certain instances and as the corporate name, but will now use the Linspire name as its major brand.

The change is in response to Microsoft’s claim that the Lindows.com and LindowsOS names infringe its Windows trademark, a complaint that has failed to succeed in securing an injunction against Lindows.com in the US but has been more successful in Europe, where it has won a preliminary injunction preventing Lindows.com from operating in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Microsoft has also launched trademark infringement complaints against Lindows.com in Canada, Finland, Sweden and France, and while the French courts last week denied Microsoft a preliminary injunction, Lindows.com has taken the decision to change its name rather than face the potential 100,000 euro ($122,230) per day fine Microsoft asked for from the Dutch court.

Despite our victories in the US and overseas, a name change is still necessary to counter Microsoft’s strategy to sue us in courts around the world. We’re hoping that this puts a halt on the international lawsuits, said Michael Robertson, CEO of Lindows.com. The company’s www.lindows.com web presence is being replaced with www.linspire.com for product and support information, while www.lindowsinc.com is the new corporate site.

The company said that within two weeks its entire software line will be available with the new Linspire branding but that OEMs and resellers would continue to sell existing LindowsOS product inventory.

The US infringement case has now been delayed while Microsoft prepares to appeal the judge’s ruling that the jury should consider whether the word windows is generic, based on the period between 1983 and 1985 before Microsoft released its products.

If the US jury decides that the word windows is generic, it will not be entitled to trademark protection.

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This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire

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