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Microsoft bullies IT news site into submission

Legal beagles pile into Active Windows

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Microsoft has used all its corporate muscle to strong-arm an US-based IT news Web site to change its name because of alleged trademark abuse. Lawyers representing Microsoft wrote to ActiveWindows in November asking the publication to remove a Windows' logo on the site and to change its name. "While we appreciate your enthusiasm and support for Microsoft's products, the use of 'WINDOWS' and the Windows Flag Logo conflicts with Microsoft's trademark rights," wrote the lawyers. "As a trademark owner, Microsoft must take reasonable efforts to police misuse of its marks. We ask that you change the title of your web site to remove both 'WINDOWS' and the Windows Flag Logo," they said. While ActiveWindows removed the logo, changing its name was a different matter. But after a second letter from Microsoft on Thursday last week it finally decided to change its name to ActiveNetwork. "We don't have the money to fight them," said Matthew Sabean of ActiveNetwork. "The cost [of pursuing the case] was prohibitive -- in the end, it all comes down to money. "We've been strong supporters of Microsoft in the past -- it's terrible to treat us like this," he said. A spokesman for Microsoft said yesterday that he wasn't aware of the case but would try and find out what he could. No further communication was received from Microsoft by press time. ActiveWindows has been up and running for two years building up a solid readership and amassing some 80,000 hits a day. ®

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