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Microsoft-style tactics threaten 28-year-old business, says litigant, why shouldn't we fight?

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Update The legal action launched by independent Minneapolis-based based Amazon Bookstore against the rather larger Amazon.com continues to provoke debate among Netizens and Register readers. In particular, we were pleased to receive a note from Diana Lynn, one of the store's founders, putting the Amazon Bookstore side of the story, as distinct from the lawyers' spiel. "I have always believed that Amazon Bookstore of Minneapolis should have taken issue with Amazon.com a long time ago for being/acting completely unaware and unthinking about the business reputation and good will of a bookstore over 28 years old," Lynn writes. "I have thought the behavior of the Internet company reprehensible in their complete inability to see whose toes they might be stepping on when creating a business name-identity that would follow the Microsoft strategy of business growth and saturation bombing. "I have wondered what would have ever happened if Amazon Bookstore would have gotten on the Internet no matter what domain name [it used] and still have kept the same business identity. Well, there goes a thirty year old national identity." As for the store's contents, she says, "yes, Amazon Bookstore carries books for and about lesbians but there are also textbooks used by university classes, books on motherhood and raising children, and religion and cooking and and and... Amazon Bookstore is a full service small bookstore, you don't exist as a business that has done nothing except grow into bigger and better spaces for 30 years by catering to only a five per cent general population base which then translates into even smaller consumer base." Clearly, the case raises some difficult issues of who owns a name, and recalls the time the Beatles successfully sued Apple for trademark infringement, claiming that Apple's computers use as a music-making tool conflicted with the band's well-established Apple record label. It's hard to accept Amazon.com is trading on the Amazon Bookstore's name, as the Beatles claimed Apple was doing in respect to their label, but perhaps it should have confirmed that there wasn't another Amazon out there trading in the same area. Though the Amazon Bookstore should have trademarked its name early on, as a search of the US trademark database suggests it failed to do. That would have strengthened its current case. Meanwhile, we await Amazon.com's response to the legal action with interest. ® Add your own comments to this story on The Register message board

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