A federal judge has issued an order that temporarily bars Microsoft from using Sun Microsystems' Java-compatible logo on two of its products pending the outcome of a lawsuit Sun filed against Microsoft, Scott McNealy, Sun's president and CEO, said at the JavaOne show.
Sun filed the lawsuit against Microsoft last October, claiming the software giant violated its licensing agreement with Sun because its Internet Explorer 4.0 and Software Developer Kit for Java do not comply with the specifications Sun had laid out for Java. Microsoft then countersued.
In a court hearing last month Sun asked US. District Judge Ronald Whyte to bar Microsoft from using the logo until the case is decided. The judge agreed with Sun this week and issued a temporary injunction barring Microsoft from using the steaming coffee cup logo on its products.
"The judge ruled that Sun Microsystems is likely to win based on the merits of the case," said McNealy, who made his remarks during an impromptu visit to the press room at the JavaOne show. "Note that I say 'likely.' We still have to go through the whole due process of the case."
The judge's ruling is a victory for Sun and for Java because "this is what the whole case was about," McNealy said. "When you see the Java logo you're supposed to know that it's 100 percent pure Java, that it's a Java compatible product. That's the whole premise."
A Microsoft spokesman said the company will comply with the ruling.
"This applies only to the logo and will not prevent us from continuing to develop products," said Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan, adding that Microsoft will comply with the ruling immediately, while studying the court order to decide on possible legal options.
"We remain confident that once all the facts are presented in the larger case, the court will find Microsoft to be in full compliance with its contract with Sun," Tom Burt, Microsoft associate general counsel, said in a statement. "We are disappointed with this decision, but we will immediately comply with the Court's order."
The judge's ruling is only a temporary one, and does not represent a victory in the case for Sun, McNealy acknowledged. Observers have noted that the trial is likely to go on for months.
"We had many issues in our case and this is just one of them, but we're very pleased," McNealy said.
According to a statement released by Sun, the judge said in his ruling that Microsoft's interpretation of Sun's licensing agreement "would essentially allow Microsoft to destroy the cross platform compatibility of the Java programming environment. Sun demonstrated sufficient likelihood of establishing consumer confusion... to entitle it to a presumption of irreparable harm."
The judge barred Microsoft from using Sun's Java compatibility trademark in connection with any advertisement, sales, distribution and promotion of products "unless and until each product first passed the Sun test suite accompanying the most current version of the Java technology incorporated in such products," the Sun statement said citing the ruling.
The judge also ordered Microsoft to remove all disputed products from the sales channel, or remove or sufficiently cover the Java compatibility logo, according to Sun.