When a Netherlands court ordered a preliminary injunction against desktop Linux vendor Lindows.com Inc. and its resellers “to cease and desist from the infringement of … the WINDOWS trademark … by using the signs “Lindows”, “Lindows.com” and/or “LindowsOS,” it seems Lindows would have to close up shop in the Netherlands and other European countries, which had seen similar rulings. Lindows, however, has come up with a novel approach to keep selling its popular Linus desktop: change the company and products name in Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg and Sweden to “Lin—s” (Lindash).
In a statement, Michael Robertson, chief executive officer of Lindows.com said, “Dutch citizens deserve the same choices that are currently available to the citizens of more than one hundred countries around the world. Lindash ensures that the Netherlands will have affordable, virus-free options instead of just expensive Microsoft software.”
The program was launched on Feb. 17 and enables citizens of the countries where Microsoft has won restraining orders against Lindows sales to continue to buy the Lindash Linux operating system (Lindows to the rest of the world) through the www.lin—s.com website or from participating resellers.
“Im glad I can get back to the business of selling one of Mensys most popular products,” said Menso de Jong, reseller of Lin—s products and owner of Mensys. “Our customers demand choice and we are pleased to be in a position to offer them choice once again.”
The Lindash Web site, featuring a sketch of a game of hangman, attempts to make it clear that Lindash is simply Lindows under a different name. Thus, Lindows believes it is sticking to the letter of the court decision.
Microsoft, which did not comment, might think that Lindows is not adhering to the Amsterdam courts ruling spirit. While winning injunctions in Europe, Microsoft has been unable to convince American courts that Lindows violates its Windows trademark. Indeed, the U.S. District Court in Seattle, Wash., recently ruled in favor of Lindows.coms assertion that the jury should consider the historical use of the term windows in graphical user interfaces rather than only its current usage as being synonymous with Microsoft Windows. This early decision has caused some to wonder whether Microsoft will not only fail to win its case against Lindows, but also lose its own Windows trademark in the process.