Lawsuit Could Cage Apple's Tiger

Tiger Direct balks at the Macintosh-maker's marketing campaign.

Apple's launch of its new Macintosh operating system code-named Tiger could get caged if a lawsuit holds up in court.

Online retailer Tiger Direct filed papers Thursday asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Florida to grant Apple a restraining order and an injunction.

The company doesn't want Apple to yank boxes of Mac OS X version 10.4 off the shelves; it just claims that Apple's marketing campaign amounts to trademark infringement and unfair trade practices.

Tiger Direct, which is a subsidiary of Systemax , is also known for its Tiger brand. The company even promotes Apple products among the more than 30,000 other items that it sells.

Apple has been running a sizeable multimedia marketing campaign, promoting the OS X 10.4 "Tiger" operating system since about mid-April. The company is staging a worldwide release of the operating system for late Friday afternoon.

The 11th-hour Florida suit asks Apple to take down all "Tiger" references from its Web site, advertisements, all promotional materials, boxes, manuals and software, as well as issue a public apology.

"The promotions refer to 'Tiger Essentials,' Tiger Unleashed,' 'Tiger World Premiere' and 'X Days until Tiger,' and directs consumers to a 'Tiger Center' that features products from manufacturers and product categories that are basically the same as the offerings by Tiger Direct," lawyers for Tiger Direct said in a statement.

Apple executives were not immediately available for comment.

A preliminary injunction hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 3.

Mac OS X version 10.4 will be available in a desktop and in a server version. Single licenses run for $129. A five-license package costs $199. There have already been pre-sales available through Apple's Web site.

Tiger has more than 200 new features, most of which are designed to make the operating system more compatible with the rest of the PC world.

For the first time, Apple's new operating system will support RSS , RSS2, RDF and ATOM protocols for reading blogs and other news feeds.

Apple is also capitalizing on the desktop search craze. The company's Spotlight application digs into content through XML metadata to let users pull up hard-to-find documents, e-mails and images.






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