After several legal setbacks in Europe, Linux supplier Lindows.com can now claim a victory in its US battle with Microsoft over the Lindows name.
Microsoft sued Lindows.com in the US in December 2001, accusing it of infringing its Windows trademark and asking the court to bar Lindows.com from using the Lindows name. Microsoft lost two requests for an injunction. The case was set to go to trial before a jury on 1 March.
The trial has now been postponed pending appeal of the court's decision.
Microsoft disagreed with the court's ruling. The validity of the Windows trademark should be judged by the present day usage and understanding of the word, said Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake.
She added that the company is pleased it can get a ruling on the issue from an appeals court before the case comes to trial.
"We are very encouraged that the judge has granted our request to ask the court of appeals to provide guidance and clarity on this important issue of law before going to trial," she said.
Lindows.com described the ruling as a major victory which will allow it to keep using the Lindows name indefinitely or until the final decision in the case is made.
Lindows.com has been less fortunate in Europe, where judges in Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands have sided with Microsoft and barred the company from using the Lindows name.
Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service