Lindows.com Inc. has raised the ire and the litigation of Microsoft Corp. with its Windows-like name. While the companies continue to wrangle over trade dress issues, Lindows.com has secured a court order to force Microsoft to produce more than 300 boxes of evidence, including evidence produced during the 1992 case between Apple and Microsoft that tread over similar ground.
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Back in 1992, Microsoft successfully defended itself in a copyright case brought forth by Apple that ultimately secured Microsoft’s legal right to use elements like windows, icons and menus in its own Windows operating system. Microsoft’s argument was that other companies had introduced operating systems with similar capabilities prior to Microsoft’s own entry into the market. Now Lindows.com hopes to use some of the same evidence presented in the Apple vs. Microsoft case to bolster its own position.
Microsoft’s dispute with Lindows.com stems back to late 2001, when the Redmond, Wash.-based giant filed suit against Lindows.com, alleging that the company’s name and the name of its operating system — LindowsOS — is a bit too close to Microsoft’s own Windows product. Lindows.com has won successive rulings.
Lindows.com lead counsel Daniel Harris said, “We also expect to receive more documents which will shed light on how Microsoft was able to obtain a trademark for ‘windows’ after the United States Patent and Trademark Office repeatedly refused registration because the mark was deemed to be generic.”
LindowsOS is a Linux-derived operating system. Lindows.com offers LindowsOS pre-installed on desktop PCs and laptops through “authorized Builders.” LindowsOS and Lindows systems are available through mail-order companies and through major retailers like Wal-Mart and Fry’s Electronics.
In its announcement today, Lindows.com noted that the United States District Court for Seattle has ordered Microsoft to produce more than 300 boxes of evidence. What’s more, the jury trial ordered in the case has been pushed back from April 7, 2003 to December 1, 2003.