Lindows.com to change name outside the US

Lindows.com is raising the white flag and will change its name outside the U.S. instead of fighting Microsoft in international courts, the company said Tuesday.

Lindows.com will unveil its new international name next Wednesday, Michael Robertson, founder and chief executive officer of the Linux vendor said in a statement on the company's Web site. The move comes after a federal judge in Seattle on Friday denied Lindows.com's request to stop Microsoft from pursuing it outside the U.S.

Microsoft sued Lindows.com in the U.S. in December 2001, accusing the company of infringing its Windows trademark and asking the court to bar Lindows.com from using the Lindows name. The Redmond, Washington, company lost two requests for an injunction in the U.S. and the trial has been delayed.

Courts outside the U.S., however, appear to be siding with Microsoft. The software vendor has won injunctions in Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands and is pursuing the case in France, Spain, Canada and Mexico.

"The goal of these actions is very simple, we're only asking that Lindows change their name and compete with a name that is distinctly their own and not such an obvious infringement of our trademark," Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said earlier this week.

Lindows.com is changing its name to assure that it can continue to do business globally, Robertson said. It is the only way to respond to an onslaught from Microsoft, he said. The company's U.S. name will no be changed.

Robertson has characterized Microsoft as a bully, using lawsuits "as a battering ram to smash Linux." Lindows is the only viable desktop Linux offering and poses a significant threat to Microsoft's rule on desktop computers, Robertson has said. Microsoft, however, sticks to its statement that its grudge with Lindows.com is only about the company's name.

The battle with Microsoft in U.S. courts could take as long as two years, if the case goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to Robertson. Lindows.com hopes to get "windows" declared a generic word.

If successful in the U.S., Lindows.com plans to ask the U.S. State Department to petition foreign governments to invalidate Microsoft's windows trademark. However, Robertson in an interview earlier this year acknowledged that his case is weaker in non-English speaking countries because the term "windows" has no generic meaning in languages other than English.

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