MS going for Linux sites over satirical slogans?
Wisecracks beginning 'Where do you want to go..' are raising Redmond's ire
Microsoft has demanded that German Linux site linux.de remove the slogan "Where do you want to go tomorrow?" from its front page. Site owner Christian Huettermann has complied so far by replacing it with a strike-through version, but as this particular slogan is widely used in the Linux world, the move may herald a Microsoft crack-down on Linux operations. Microsoft, however, would seem to be on shaky ground. The company does indeed have fairly extensive trademark protection for its "Where do you want to go today?" slogan, but "Where do you want to go tomorrow?" is registered at the US Patent and Trademark Office to Cybernet Systems of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Microsoft must therefore intend to challenge linux.de's use of the slogan on the basis of plagiarism or passing-off. Logically the company should therefore also be challenging Cybernet's trademark. As far as linux.de is concerned, the situation remains unclear. Huettermann points out that over 400 other sites use the slogan, and says he has only complied with Microsoft's request while he seeks clarification of the legal situation. Here at The Register we think he's probably on a winner in the longer term. In order to stop people taking satirical pops at its slogans, Microsoft is going to have to bust hundreds of sites. The very act of doing so will make it look like a big bully (which isn't difficult anyway), and will encourage hundreds more sites to join in the campaign to irritate Redmond. Isn't it amazing how little MS learns about presentation and PR as the years roll by? ®
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