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Dutch judge bars Lindows name

Linux vendor Lindows.com is barred from using the Lindows name in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

In a case brought by Microsoft, an Amsterdam judge ruled that Lindows.com's use of the terms Lindows, LindowsOS and Lindows.com violates the Benelux Merkenwet, the branding law for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Lindows.com has eight days to inform its regional distributors of the ruling and stop distributing, selling and advertising its software under the Lindows name.

Furthermore, all inventories have to be exported from the region and all orders for products bearing the Lindows name into the region have to be halted. Lindows.com has to make its website inaccessible to users from the three countries.

Lindows.com can appeal against the ruling. However, the company has yet to review the ruling and has not made a decision yet, a spokeswoman said. Lindows.com faces a fine of €1,000 for each day it does not comply with the ruling with a maximum of fine €90,000 under the ruling.

European courts appear to be siding with Microsoft, which lost two requests for an injunction barring Lindows.com from using the Lindows name in the US. The matter is now going to a trial set for 1 March in Seattle.

Microsoft sued Lindows.com in the US in December 2001, accusing the company of infringing its Windows trademark and asking the court to bar Lindows.com from using the Lindows name.

Judges in Finland and Sweden granted preliminary injunctions late last year.

"This is only about the Lindows name, a clear example of trademark infringement. Our goal is not to stop Lindows from selling competing products, it is simply asking them to change their name," Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said.

Lindows.com chief executive officer Michael Robertson accused Microsoft of using lawsuits "as a battering ram to smash Linux" after the Swedish injunction last year.

Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service


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