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Autodesk has decided not to charge Microsoft with trademark violation - despite the software giant's use of the CAD specialist's trademarked tagline 'Suddenly Everything Clicks'.

Microsoft uses the phrase in its Windows XP advertising campaign, which has been the target of a series of pro-Linux defacements. Posters proclaiming that, thanks to XP, 'Suddenly Everything Clicks' have been spotted by Register readers from all over the UK and in parts of North America.

However, Autodesk's Web site, which contains a list of trademarks taken by the company, showed that 'Suddenly Everything Clicks' had already been appropriated by the CAD company.

Fortunately, Steve 'Monkeyman' Ballmer needn't lose any more sleep over the matter, as Autodesk has kindly decided it doesn't want the trademark any longer, essentially permitting Microsoft to take the slogan for its own.

Says Autodesk's legal team: "This trademark had been associated with a product that Autodesk is no longer offering, and for all intents and purposes we have abandoned this mark. Generally a trademark is not considered abandoned by its owner until two years after its last known use. Because we are approaching that anniversary, we will remove it from our list, as we have had no plans to reactivate it."

Indeed, so long ago was the 'Suddenly Everything Clicks' slogan coined that even Autodesk staffers can't recall quite what it had been used to promote. No wonder, then, that Microsoft come up with the same catchphrase entirely independently.

Not that Autodesk would have much of a leg to stand on if Microsoft had been aware of the trademark since it failed to register its slogan with the US Patent and Trademark Office. "It would have been difficult, therefore, for Microsoft to have known that it was one of our claimed marks," says Autodesk.

Ignorance is, of course, no defence, but we think Microsoft is safe on this one. Which is more than you can say for its billboards... ®

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