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Microsoft's Lindows battle moves to Canada

Microsoft is taking its trademark infringement case against Linux company Lindows.com to Canada.

The company filed suit against Lindows.com in a Canadian court earlier this week. As in the other countries, Microsoft is asking the court to bar the company from using the Lindows name, arguing that it is too close to Windows and might confuse customers.

Microsoft sued Lindows.com in the US in December 2001. Since then it has lost two requests for an injunction barring Lindows.com from using the Lindows name.

Earlier this month, Lindows.com claimed a victory when a US district court ruled that, were the case to come before a jury, it would instruct the jury to consider whether "windows" was a generic term before Microsoft introduced software with that name in 1985. Microsoft is appealing that ruling.

Microsoft has had more success in Europe, where it won injunctions in Sweden and the Benelux region. Lindows.com this week announced it would do business in those countries under the Lind---s name.

Lindows.com chief executive officer Michael Robertson has described Microsoft as a bully, using lawsuits "as a battering ram to smash Linux", adding yesterday that Lindows is the only viable desktop Linux offering and poses a significant threat to Microsoft's rule on desktop computers.

Microsoft, however, has insisted that its grudge with Lindows.com is only about the company's name. "There are many Linux operating systems on the market using names that are distinctly their own and don't infringe on our trademark and we have no issue with those companies," said Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake.

Robertson believed his company may have lost the cases in Europe because the term "windows" has no generic meaning in languages other than English.

Microsoft has also claimed it won an injunction against Lindows.com in Finland. However, according to Lindows there is no legal barrier preventing Finnish citizens from buying from the company under its Lindows name.

Meanwhile, Lindows.com has added support for Intel's Centrino product for notebooks to its software. Centrino-based portable computers running LindowsOS Laptop Edition should be out within two months.

Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service


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