Rein in Microsoft legal action abroad, Lindows asks US judge

Lindows.com has asked a federal judge in Seattle to stop Microsoft from pursuing trademark infringement lawsuits against the...

Lindows.com has asked a federal judge in Seattle to stop Microsoft from pursuing trademark infringement lawsuits against the company in international courts.

The company also asked the judge to declare a January ruling by a Netherlands court non-recognisable and unenforceable. If the court does not intervene, Lindows.com would be forced to shut down its website.

Lindows.com hoped the judge will rule before next week's hearing in an Amsterdam court where Microsoft will argue that Lindows.com is not complying with the Dutch court's order to make its website inaccessible to people in the Benelux countries.

Microsoft is asking the court to fine Lindows.com €100,000 a day for failing to block access to its website from to visitors from three European countries. Lindows.com has claimed that technically, it is impossible to comply with the blocking order.

In January a Dutch judge barred the use of the Lindows name in the Benelux countries after Microsoft filed suit, charging that the name infringed upon its Windows trademark. Lindows.com has already recalled its products from the region and posted a notice on its website that it is unable to sell its products there.

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. It lost two requests for an injunction in the US and the trial has been delayed. 

European courts are, however, siding with Microsoft, which has won injunctions in Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands and is pursuing the case in France. It is also pursuing the case in Canada. Lindows.com is now trying to stop Microsoft from fighting it abroad at least until the US case has been decided.

Microsoft argued that if Lindows.com has issues with rulings made by courts in other countries, it should fight the rulings in those countries, said spokeswoman Stacy Drake.

"This is a baseless effort by Lindows to avoid the jurisdiction of international courts where they are in violation of local trademark laws," she said. "If they don't believe they can reasonably comply with a preliminary injunction in a given country then it is most appropriate that they raise the issue with the court that rendered the injunction."

Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service

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