Lindows: Microsoft Is "Country-Shopping" In Trademark Suit

Microsoft says it's only defending its Windows trademark, but the Linux seller says Microsoft filed suit in Canada because it can't win the suit it filed in the United States.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

February 20, 2004

2 Min Read Inc., the defendant in a trademark-infringement suit filed by Microsoft, said Friday the software maker was "country-shopping" in its recent move to expand the case into Canada.

Microsoft denied the claim, saying it was only following its longstanding policy of aggressively defending its Windows trademark.

Microsoft filed the suit Wednesday in the Federal Court of Canada in Ottawa. The lawsuit makes trademark claims against the Linux seller similar to arguments found in suits filed in the United States and several European countries. All the suits are ongoing.

"Microsoft couldn't win in the United States and now they are country-shopping," Michael Robertson, CEO of Lindows, said in a statement. "This is another tactic geared to slow down desktop Linux in Canada, where has had great success. They're attempting to bury our success with litigation."

But Microsoft said its only issue with is the similarity of its name to Windows. "Microsoft's actions are only about the Lindows name," Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said. "We are merely asking that they change their name that's obviously meant to copy our Windows brand."

Drake said there are many companies distributing Linux that use their own distinctive names and don't infringe on Microsoft's trademark. "We have no issues with those companies," she said.

George Weiss, an analyst for market researcher Gartner, said the suit appeared to be primarily a trademark issue. "We know Microsoft is extremely covetous of anything that muddies the waters around its name and trademarks," he said. sells a version of Linux that has an interface similar to Windows. Microsoft sued the company in the United States shortly after it opened for business. A trial in that case is pending. The European cases are in various stages of litigation.

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