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."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 http://linux.eweek.com for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
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.