Lindows.com Exits Benelux in Face of Fine
A Dutch court in January had temporarily barred Lindows.com, of San Diego, from selling its Linux-based operating system in the three European countries, known as the Benelux countries. But Lindows.com tried a novel approach in February to continue doing business there. It changed its name for those markets to "Lin---s" (Lindash) and launched a new Web site under that name.
Microsoft earlier this week fought back when it sought the fine in a court filing, alleging that Lindows.com has not blocked visitors from the Benelux countries from its Web site and that "Lin---s clearly refers to Lindows" and continues to violates its Windows trademark.
"We do feel that they clearly are violating the terms of the preliminary injunction order," Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said on Friday. "This matter could be easily resolved if they just changed their name."
While Microsoft says it is defending its Windows trademark, Lindows.com CEO Michael Robertson views the software giants latest legal move as an attempt to shut his company down.
Lindows.com has attempted to block visitors from the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg by adding a notice to its main site informing those visitors that they are not authorized to access or make purchases from the site. The company also has replaced the content on its Lindash site with a similar notice.
"We have completely withdrawn our products from these markets and put notices on every page of our website, yet Microsoft is still asking that the judge fine us 100,000 euro per day because non-U.S. visitors can view our U.S.-based website," Robertson said in a statement.
"Microsofts actions demonstrate this has nothing to do with protecting their Dutch trademark or confusion in the marketplace, but is simply an attempt to put us out of business," he said.
Lindows.com has appealed the temporary injunction against it, a Lindows.com spokeswoman said. The next hearing in the trademark infringement case is set for March 30.
Microsoft has challenged Lindows.coms use of a name similar to "Windows" across North America and Europe, claiming it violates its trademark.
While gaining temporary injunctions against the use of the Lindows.com name in the Benelux countries, Sweden and Finland, Microsoft hit a snag in February in its U.S. case. A federal judge, siding with Lindows.com, ruled that the jury in the stateside case should consider the historical use of the term windows in graphical user interfaces rather just its current usage as being synonymous with Microsoft Windows. The ruling has led to some experts to question whether Microsofts Windows trademark might be at risk.
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