Microsoft’s Trial with Lindows Moves Forward

Microsoft’s trademark infringement case against Lindows will go to trial after a federal appeals court denied the world’s largest software maker’s appeal. Microsoft had filed an appeal earlier this year, just before both parties were to meet in the courtroom, over whether the word “windows” can be considered a generic term as it is used by the public today.

U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour, who is presiding over the case, had previously instructed that a jury should only consider whether the word “windows” was a generic term before Microsoft launched its first version of Windows in 1985. The Ninth Circuit of Appeals denied Microsoft’s appeal, clearing the way for the two parties to meet in a courtroom over whether Lindows can sell software under the Lindows name.

Microsoft sued Lindows in 2001, arguing that the developer of Linux distribution was capitalizing on the name of its Windows product, which runs on more than 90 percent of the world’s PCs. “This outright denial of Microsoft’s appeal confirms that the trial will focus on how consumers and the software industry used the term ‘windows’ in the 1980s, before Microsoft dominated the landscape,” Lindows Chief Executive Michael Robertson said in a statement.

The trial is expected to take place during the second half of this year. Last month, Robertson said the “Lindows” name was being dropped from his company’s software products and instead would be called “Linspire” because of litigation brought against the company by Microsoft. Yet Robertson said the corporate name would remain, along with its corporate Web site.

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