October 9, 2002 12:49 PM PDT

Lindows: As Windows as we want to be

Upstart operating system company Lindows is hoping to deal a final death blow to the suit brought against it by Microsoft.

The company said Tuesday that it has asked a judge to toss out the suit, which claims Lindows is violating Microsoft's trademark on the word "windows." Lindows also urged the judge, who's already ruled twice in its favor, to find that Microsoft's trademark is invalid because "windows" is a generic term.

Lindows' summary judgment filing, which opens with a cartoon poking fun at the origin of the Windows name, requests that the judge dismiss once and for all Microsoft's claims and its attempts to get the site shut down.

In the filing, Lindows also promised that declarations from some current and former Microsoft developers would support its claims that the term "windows" has been used generically in the past. "Graphical user interfaces that feature the use of 'windows' have, since the late 1970s, been referred to as 'windows programs,' 'windowing interfaces,' 'windowing systems,' and 'window managers,'" according to the filing.

Redacted versions of the filing and the declarations are posted on the Lindows Web site.

If the judgment were granted, it could put an end to Microsoft's quest to shut down Lindows, which offers a competing operating system based on Linux and has made inroads into low-cost computers sold by Wal-Mart. It also could further jeopardize Microsoft's trademark claims on Windows, the company's flagship operating system. Lindows is asking for a hearing on the matter on Oct. 25.

Lindows has already won two rounds in the suit. In rulings that chipped away at Microsoft's claim to the Windows trademark, U.S. District Judge John Coughenour said the suit raises "serious questions" about whether the word "windows" is entitled to trademark protection. Coughenour issued the first ruling in March, denying Microsoft's request to shutter the Lindows site. Microsoft then asked the judge to reconsider the ruling, but he came to the same conclusion after doing so.

Both sides have been gearing up for a trial on the matter, but Lindows is hoping a final ruling in its favor will prevent it from having to face a costly legal battle.

Microsoft representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

 

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