Microsoft loses Lindows appeal

Microsoft's claim to 'windows' questioned

Microsoft has been refused permission to appeal its case against Lindows.

The verdict means that the case will go before the district courts in Seattle in the second half of this year. The case should last about two weeks.

Microsoft is taking Lindows to court in several countries claiming the Linux company is infringing its trademarks. Lindows changed its name to Lin---s but Microsoft lawyers claimed this was pronounced "Lindash", which "bears an auditive resemblance to Windows."

In April Lindows changed the name on all its software to "Linspire", but Microsoft continued the action in the Netherlands because Lindows was still found on parts of the defendant's website. MS is pressing for €100,000-a-day fine on the Linux distributor.

Microsoft wanted the trial to concentrate on what consumers make of the word "windows" today, while Linspire wanted a longer timeframe. The original judgement ruled that the jury should look at what the word meant to consumers when Microsoft Windows 1.0 became available in 1985. This decision will now be upheld because Microsoft's appeal was rejected.

Michael Robertson, chief executive at Linspire, said: "We're looking forward to getting this trial back on the fast track and presenting our piles of evidence - videos, magazines, internal Microsoft documents - which clearly shows the generic use of 'windows' before Microsoft commandeered the word."

"This outright denial of Microsoft's appeal confirms that the trial will focus on how consumers and the software industry used the term 'windows' in the 1980s, before Microsoft dominated the landscape."

Michael Robertson, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are all expected to testify. ®

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