Page Two

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2004-04-05 Print this article Print

Lindows lawyers argued that Microsoft is going to foreign courts in an effort to evade the U.S. courts jurisdiction and put San Diego-based Lindows out of business by suing the company on the same trademark violation in multiple foreign jurisdictions. Specifically, they argued that it is impossible to keep Benelux citizens from visiting its Web site. The site currently bears a prominent warning that, "Pending Lindows appeal visitors from the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg are not permitted to access the website or purchase Lindows products."

This, however, might not stop the Dutch court from fining Lindows a daily fine of 100,000 euro (approximately $123,500), should it find that this warning is insufficient. If that proves to be the case, Lindows would be forced to shut down its site. This, in turn, Lindows lawyers said, might force Lindows to go out of business and to change its name regardless of how the U.S. court eventually rules on its trademark dispute with Microsoft.

Now, though, the court has decided not to interfere with Microsofts efforts against Lindows in foreign courts, and so Lindows will have to try a new track.

In a March 18th e-mail to LindowsOS subscribers, Lindows CEO Michael Robertson indicated what this would be when he wrote, " Were looking for a strategy which would allow us to continue to operate in impacted countries. This may mean that Lindows needs a temporary alternative name in isolated locations. Its tremendously disruptive to a business to change a name or add an alias, but it may be the only way in the short-term that we can operate in certain places. I want to stress that we have no intention of changing our corporate name, that will certainly remain Lindows. Were only looking for suggestions for this alternate name to be used selectively, where appropriate. As costly and troublesome as it may be to operate under a different moniker, we do have a strong commitment to battle for choice around the world—especially in places where Microsoft doesnt want choice to take root."

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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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