Lindows Comments

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-07-19 Print this article Print

Lindows CEO Michael Robertson, long a harsh critic of Microsoft and its legal challenges to Lindows, took a more conciliatory tone as part of the joint announcement. He said, in a statement, that Lindows will transition to the Linspire name "over the next few months." The SEC filing set the deadline at Sept. 14. "We are pleased to resolve this litigation on terms that make business sense for all parties," Robertson said in the statement.
Both companies are ending their legal actions, and Microsoft agreed not to not file new trademark cases outside the United States without giving Lindows a 30-day notice and opportunity to respond to trademark allegations, the SEC filing stated.
"It was a wise thing [to settle]," said Michael Painter, a senior partner at the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based law firm of Isaacson, Kaufman and Painter who has had experience working on trademark and copyright cases, some of them opposite Microsoft. "They can money you to death," Painter said. "If you can get any terms that are slightly favorable, youve done a good job." Of trademark issues, Painter said, "Its not rocket science." The question, he said, is whether a reasonable consumer would get confused when looking to purchase a specific product. Though Painter did not think this situation was likely in the Lindows example, he said he did think the Windows name was entitled to protection from possible dilution under trademark law. Marks become protected against the threat of being considered generic, he said, by actively distinguishing themselves. Even though Windows powers a majority of personal computers, he said, its not reasonable to say that the word "windows" is used to describe all operating systems. Editors Note: This story was updated to include legal commentary from Michael Painter, reported by Daniel Drew Turner. Check out eWEEK.coms Linux & Open Source Center at for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

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Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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