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Education In America Authors: Darrah Deal, Student Lance, David Miller, David Miller, Chris Pentago

Article

"Microsoft is Using Lawsuits as a Battering Ram to Smash Linux," Says Robertson

"Microsoft is Using Lawsuits as a Battering Ram to Smash Linux," Says Robertson

In the Stockholm City Court, in the Swedish capital, a magistrate yesterday issued a restraining order under the terms of which Lindows.com must cease distributing Lindows in Sweded.

The case was handled in the absence of the parties, and Ulrika Carlehall, the magistrate, basically agreed to the claim raised by Microsoft against Lindows.com for trademark infringement and to its request that the city court prohibit Lindows.com from using the marks LINDOWS, LINDOWS.COM and LINDOWS.OS "as marks for products or services regarding operative systems" - under a penalty of three million Swedish kroner ($400,000).

Microsoft had proposed that the penalty be five million.

San Diego, CA-based Lindows.com confirmed that CEO MIchael Robertson would be in Stockholm today all day until 1:00 PM and that those interested in speaking with him could register to do so.  Microsoft has requested that the city court immediately "and without Lindows.com being given the opportunity of a prior statement" issue a decree in accordance with the claim. In doing so, the city court declared as follows:

Microsoft has shown probable reasons for the alleged infringement. It may reasonably be expected that Lindows will continue the infringement and diminish the value of the sole right to the marks. A delay would imply a risk for damage. On these grounds an injunction shall be issued immediately.

Robertson in turn issued the following statement:

"Microsoft is using lawsuits as a battering ram to smash Linux, to prevent it from reaching retail stores. We're hopeful that the Judge will see Microsoft's true intentions are to sustain their monopoly and will grant Swedish computer users the same choices that global computer users are benefiting from. Microsoft tried this identical legal maneuver in the U.S., attempting to block the growth of Linux with mainstream computer users. The U.S. Courts denied their request multiple times and today more than 100 retailers sell Linux desktop and laptop computers, forcing Microsoft to compete in the United States for the first time in many years, giving consumers more choices and better prices."

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Most Recent Comments
mathe 04/10/04 04:21:58 PM EDT

Your site looks great! Best of luck to you.

mathe 04/10/04 04:21:52 PM EDT

Your site looks great! Best of luck to you.

N.Franke 01/03/04 07:22:55 PM EST

Look at the bright side. Every time you try to restrict something you just make it more popular. Cheers to "LINDOWS"

bigdan 01/02/04 04:44:12 PM EST

Just a second thought.... windows are things you look through and have been around longer than me - an I'm OLD!

bigdan 01/02/04 04:40:42 PM EST

Hmmm.... well, y'know, Europe always was a place for stopping any external imports to the EC - everyone knows that.. it's no surprise about Sweden or any of the others out there (watch out for Brussels and the UK) cos they are full of sh*t and run a cool protectionism setup... right?

Jaco 12/29/03 12:53:34 PM EST

Wasn't the unix X-Windows GUI existing long before MS-Windows came along?

Enrique Santander 12/25/03 12:03:44 PM EST

Microsucks ooopppsss!!!! :-) I meant to say Microsoft leave LINDOWS alone. LINDOWS is a great competition for Microsucks ooopppsss once again :-) and they know it.

Brent 12/21/03 10:18:29 PM EST

lillehenke explanation sounds reasonable on the surface but if taken to it's extreme any non Swedish word could be trademarked in Sweden to the detriment of any imported product. Seiss chocolat would disappear from the pantry shelves under the threat of a $400,000 fine,

Holachten has it right, close the (MS)Window and turn on the Lindows machine, You will find it's a lot cooler inside when you do. That's what I did and the feeling of freedom is great.

James Mandrake 9.2 user 12/16/03 04:53:05 PM EST

Holachten brings up a good point this tactic might very well begin to hurt Microsoft and yet one wonders why Linux companies like Red Hat or even Lindows for that matter don't advertise on televesion like Microsoft and if they did would MS sue over that as well?

Holachten 12/16/03 12:08:42 PM EST

This us nothing about justice but about another bully boy corporation using their massive fiancial clout in an attempt to stiffle any competition by forcing them into lengthy and expensive litigation.
Success in the courts is rarely about justice but for the litigant with the deepest pockets.
MS is engaging in a war of attrician. I dont like their tactics their ethics (I dont think they have any). I dont like bullies and more to the point I have allways made a point of standing up to bullies.
LindowsOS only came to my notice as a result of the press coverage of this particular case.
I have purchased it am delighted with it and am dispensing with all the MS products I own just as fast as I can.
So bully boy maybe your litigation will end up shooting you in the foot. News travels, and more litigation will mean more and more people will get to hear of an alternative that doesnt want to stiffle competition.

lillehenke 12/14/03 10:59:37 PM EST

After reading some swedish debate about this (in swedish) I figured I could summorize how this crap came to happen for you non swedish readers.

Since the word 'Windows' doesn't mean anything in swedish, it could be registered as a trademark in Sweden, just like the swedish word 'fönster' could be registered in the US, but not in Sweden. 'Windows' was approved as a trademark in sweden in 1995, after it had been established in peoples everyday vocabulary as primarily meaning 'that OS M$ makes'. I think 'Microsft Windows' is the closest thing to 'Windows' that MS has registered in the US.

The word 'Lindows' is clearly quite different from the phrase 'Microsoft Windows', but the words 'Lindows' and 'Windows' would be very similar if they had both been made up, or in a foreign language. (Compare 'Fönster' and 'Hönster', only first char of 7 differs, neither means anything in english.)

All this still doesn't mean that the court decition is unquestanable. Most swedes know english well enought to know what the word 'windows' really means. The probability that someone would confuse a made up word with a common word from a language they have learned in school since they were about 10 years old, and hear every day from TV-shows, movies, popular music etc. is about as big as a year passing without a new W32 email worm showing up.

Ryan 12/14/03 01:47:18 AM EST

I think all the Window manufacturers of the World should sue M$. They've been using the word for YEARS AND YEARS, etc.... before microsoft got a hold of it. And I don't know how many times I've been talking about real windows and someone got it mixed up with M$ Windows.

Not to mention. I'm Canadian so NOT too sure about US Law this but trademarks can't be based on Common words..... Even if that's not the case. It should be. How long before someone trademarks I or pot. Maybe I should do that? Trademark some word and only charge M$ for using it:)

Cesare 12/12/03 09:09:09 PM EST

Even my dog knows that windows are things to see through,
he's sitting and watching what's happening outside everyday!

James Mandrake 9.2 user 12/12/03 07:00:44 PM EST

Amen Christopher

Tony d'aNDREA 12/12/03 06:49:12 PM EST

I use Microsoft, Apple, and Linux the Lindows version to be more direct. I see Apple's Mac OS X and Linux (any version) better operating systems then Microsoft. With Mac and Linux I don't have the system crashes, the viruses, or the headaches that Microsoft causes to me or the people I support everyday. IMO, if Microsoft would put more time in developing a better OS without the "Bugs" they would not have a problem with other operating systems taking their markets. Just a thought...

Christopher 12/12/03 05:39:24 PM EST

As a Mac guy, I fully understand existing in a world of corporate bullies. One which includes the giant 'Fat Bastard' Microsoft. On the surface, I believe Michael Robertson's statement of 'choice' to be morally and ethically sound. And I believe he really means it. What I don't understand is why certain judicial officials are SO f*cking blind as to see the truth and the stupidity of it all!

If the word 'windows' can be register trademarked, then I suppose 'roofs' could be too. Nope. It can't. Can 'Doors'? (Waddayasay, Jim)

The word 'Lindow' is not a 'window', nor does it appear in the Oxford dictionary, as window does. The word 'Lindows' is NOT the same as 'Windows', so what does this a-hole Swedish magistrate not get? The English language? Or is he on the 'take' from Fat Bastard?

Mac had their OS nicked while Fat Bastard was SUPPOSED to be creating an Office suite for them. The courts thought that was fair. Theft is now legal. Fat Bastard countered that Apple just 'broke in the house first ', yet Apple proved to the courts they PAID for the privilege for Xerox to 'open the kimono'. The courts ruled in FAVOUR of Fat Bastard.

OK. Black is white, right is wrong, lying is the truth . . . people -- we got a VERY serious 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' Orwellian-type issue here.

I seriously hope Micheal Robertson is bestowed with a modern-day miracle and is cleared of this abject stupidity. Then he can, indeed, carry on and offer his brand of much needed choice, as he sees fit. As far as I see it, (as a Mac guy as well), I personally believe we all can benefit from variations of the Linux OS to help provide a very healthy choice in this otherwise unfairly dominated monopoly of Fat Bastard's.

Greg 12/12/03 12:02:43 PM EST

Lindows only have to change their name to avoid all this agravation from MS. May I suggest ..... Winux ;o)

John B 12/12/03 10:42:49 AM EST

My five year old nephew not only knows theres a difference between Lindows and Windows but has demonstrated that he can identify each repeatedly... No consumer confusion there.

I think consumer confusion is spending hours reading manuals, listening to lackie tech support, following to the letter 10 different procedures to make a product work as advertised, only to be told, wait till the next patch comes out, then it will work, or worse stop leaking your sensitive data to the world.
Open Source = Open Mind

Paul Cooke 12/12/03 02:48:35 AM EST

So when are they going to go after OpenOffice.org for having "Office" in the name.. surely by their tortious logic it can be considered to be trademark infringement...

Phill Rogers 12/11/03 03:28:11 PM EST

It's been goning down hill since some moron let MS register "Where do you want to go ... (something)".
MS's product is named after a standard feature of graphical environments. I think is was Xerox Parc who first coined the acronym WIPM - Windows-Icons-Mouse-Pointer in the 70's.
So IMHO MS have less right to the word "Windows" than Lindows have to a new word which they invented.

Da Burt Man 12/11/03 01:02:57 PM EST

MegaShaft Needs to go After Bi-Glass next I guess.

They sell WINDOWS (double pane that is!)

John Robertson 12/11/03 12:52:32 PM EST

In related news, Microsoft has filed an injuction to halt the sale of the Ford Explorer sport utility vechicle, claiming that it infringes on their "Internet Explorer" trademark.

Microsoft told the judge that research had show that their customers were unable to distinguish between the two products.

Greg T. 12/11/03 12:00:46 PM EST

I for one can tell the difference between LINDOW and WINDOWS! Is Microsoft unable to read? Do they think we are morons or some such thing? Microsoft is just the eight hundred pound canary trying to eat the software world it dose not control.

Hans 12/11/03 11:44:02 AM EST

This is insane! How can they grant a preliminary injunction without even having spoken to Lindows???

This is why I'm glad I live in the good ol' USofA. Our system may be slow, but at least it let's BOTH sides have a say before passing judgement.

This is like the Wolf (MS) telling the Farmer (Judge) that the Hens (Lindows) are up to no good and to look the other way.

Hans

Becca L. 12/11/03 11:14:51 AM EST

Does Sweden have similar anti-monopoly laws to the US?

James Mandrake 9.2 user 12/11/03 10:41:26 AM EST

ok when did Microsoft buy the Swedish government?