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Microsoft and Lindows head to court

Lindows.com and Microsoft are set to argue their sides in the international trademark battle before a US judge.

Lindows said that a US judge had granted it an expedited hearing for a motion seeking to stop Microsoft from suing the company abroad until the case had been decided in the US, and to declare an Amsterdam judge's preliminary injunction against it as unenforceable and non-recognisable.

In its motion, Lindows claimed that "US courts have the power to enjoin persons subject to their jurisdiction from prosecuting a foreign lawsuit". Lindows added that the US court had jurisdiction over Microsoft and may stop the company from "filing and maintaining parallel foreign lawsuits".

The scheduled hearing is the latest meeting between the two software supplier, since Microsoft initially sued Lindows for trademark infringement over the similarity between the Lindows and Windows names in December 2001. The original suit was filed in the US but Microsoft has twice been denied an injunction on its home turf and the trial has been delayed.

The company has since taken legal action against Lindows in several European countries, and has won victories in Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands.

In January, an Amsterdam judge barred the company from using the Lindows name in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (Benelux countries).

However, earlier this month the Linux-based software supplier said that Microsoft has since requested that it be fined €100,000 a day for allowing its website to be accessed by visitors in the banned countries. A hearing to consider the fines has been set for 30 March.

Lindows said that it has already recalled its products from these countries and posted a notice on its website that it is unable to sell to customers in Benelux, but that it is impossible to keep visitors from these countries from accessing its site.

Lindows had alleged that Microsoft was using the Netherlands injunction to shut its website down. The company called for an "anti-suit injunction" and said that without it, "Microsoft can effectively conduct an end-run around the court's jurisdiction and substitute the judgement of a foreign court for a US jury."

With the expedited hearing is granted, the companies will be given 20 minutes each to argue their sides in the matter.

Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service


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