Lindows.com Asks for Victory in Microsoft Case

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Lindows.com last week filed for a summary judgment in defense of the patent infringement suit filed by Microsoft nearly a year ago over Lindows.com's use of the term "lindows" in its products and branding. The San Diego computing startup is hoping the U.S. District Court in Washington finds in its favor, claiming that Microsoft has no iron-clad claim to the "windows" term.

Over the past year, Lindows.com has spent its time trying to sway presiding Judge John C. Coughenour with its argument that graphical user interfaces that feature the use of "windows" have been referred to as "windows programs," "windowing interfaces," "windowing systems," and "window managers" since the late '70s.

"Thus, the term "windows" has been used as a generic term for a category of computer software products for over 20 years. This indisputable fact is dispositive in this litigation and its proof justifies the entry of summary judgment in favor of defendant Lindows.com, Inc.," Lindows.com said in a public statement on its Web site.

Lindows.com further argues that: "Because there is no reasonable dispute that the terms "windows," "window," and "windowing" were used generically to refer to the category of graphical operating environment products before and after Microsoft named its Microsoft Windows product in 1983, summary adjudication of this issue is appropriate. As such, Lindows.com requests a finding that Microsoft's asserted WINDOWS trademarks are invalid for genericness and that judgment be entered in favor of Lindows.com on Microsoft's claims of trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition."

In defending the right to make, sell, and dub its Linux-based operating system "Lindows" to compete with Microsoft's Windows OS, the concern, founded by MP3.com Founder Michael Robertson, has even gone so far as to pull quotes from Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates' past court depositions to make its case that the "windows" term fits the "generic use" bill.

Thus far, Lindows.com's argument has worked for Coughenour. Microsoft filed an injunction motion last March to have Lindows.com halted from using the Lindows name and releasing a competing operating system called LindowsOS. However, Judge Coughenour refused, noting that Microsoft's argument that Windows is not a generic name "flawed."

Coughenour wrote: "Through its own use of the evidence, Microsoft essentially admits that these terms [Windows and variations] refer to the genus of products that have windowing capability."

The judge pointed out references to "windows" in press and advertisements before Microsoft Windows was introduced in November 1983, and generic definitions of "windowing environment" and "windowing software" in the Microsoft Computer Dictionary.

Microsoft asked for a reconsideration but was refused. The Redmond, Wash. software power was unavailable for comment as of press time.

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