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Who do you want to sue today? KDE?

That pesky satirical slogan just keeps popping up...

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Register readers Doug and Anna Weathers have drawn our attention to a potentially larger target for Microsoft's "Where do you want to go today?" legal eagles. Fire up Linux with the KDE shell, move the pointer over the K icon in the lower left hand corner, and the message "Where do you want to go tomorrow?" pops up. As KDE is becoming the Linux GUI of choice, and is surely going to wind up on Linux desktop systems that compete with Microsoft's Windows milch cow, Microsoft should logically now be thinking of busting quite a few companies, not just a few hundred Linux Web sites Earlier story. But the legal underpinning of Microsoft's campaign remains murky. MS does have a trademark in the US for "Where do you want to go today?" and it has pushed that one so heavily that it's quite possibly acceptable as a worldwide mark. From a trademarking point of view, that might mean that "Where do you want to go tomorrow?" could be deemed sufficiently close for it to constitute an infringement, and so Cybernet Systems, which has applied for the latter trademark in the US, may well fail. But other Register readers have suggested to us that the "tomorrow" slogan, being satirical, is a protected form of speech in the US, and also covered by this in all countries that are signatories to the Berne Convention. We're not entirely convinced - British courts are notably humourless, for example and we can't see the French wearing it either, but Microsoft still seems to be getting itself into something of a swamp. For what it's worth, the company may now be starting to back off. It's currently describing what linux.de took as a threat as a simple email request, and therefore seems unlikely to want to push the matter as far as the courts. But it can probably still make some ground by quietly leaning on the Linux operations of larger companies. If, for example, Dell were to ship Linux machines with KDE, we wouldn't be at all surprised if that pesky slogan somehow failed to ship with them. ®

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