September 15, 2006 3:33 PM PDT

Microsoft sued over Forefront security brand

A maker of software for construction companies has sued Microsoft over its use of the Forefront name for its security software.

Seattle-based Dexter + Chaney has been selling its "Forefront Construction Management Software" for nearly two decades, the company's spokesman Brad Mathews said Friday. "The brand has come to mean a great deal to us and our clients, and we hope to our prospects as well," he said.

Dexter + Chaney filed suit against Microsoft on Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle. The company is seeking an injunction barring Microsoft from using the Forefront name.

Microsoft announced Forefront in June as a single brand that encompasses updated and upcoming security products aimed at businesses. "They will be selling under our brand to the very same people that we sell to," Mathews said. "Before the marketplace gets confused, and our business is hurt, we'd like them to pick another name."

Microsoft does not see how there could be any confusion since it the products the two companies sell are very different, the software giant's spokesman Jack Evans said in an e-mailed statement.

"We carefully review names for our new products and consider the possible use of those names by other companies to avoid any conflict," Evans said. "In this instance, we believe the specific use of the name Microsoft Forefront will not cause any confusion in the marketplace since the products and the channels of trade for them are significantly different."

Dexter + Chaney's Forefront Construction Management Software, which is not security software, is designed to help construction companies manage their work from the inception of a project to its completion. Bu contrast, Microsoft's Forefront products are aimed at businesses in general to help them secure PCs and networks.

Privately-held Dexter + Chaney has about 70 employees and last year booked revenue of $14.2 million, Mathews said.

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13 comments

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Name Confusion ?
Jan. 20, '04 ... Mike Roe Soft ....

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://andrewsinclair.org/archive/" target="_newWindow">http://andrewsinclair.org/archive/</a>
microsoft_sues_mike_roe_soft.htm

Who's kidding who here ??? 'nuff said
Posted by Kalama (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So lame
When I was picking a name form my consulting company....there was only about 5 or 6 with the same name....getting a domain was pain but hey there are 5 or 6 of us with the same name with slightly different domains.

They just want money. If it was someboady with out very deep pockets they would not waste the time or money.

Microsoft should buy them out and fire all of the gold digging managment team.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Morally that's true, BUT....
Considering that Microsoft has a history of going after anyone and anything that comes somewhat close to the word "microsoft", I'd say that Microsoft is the one who opened Pandora's Box. Any company other than Microsoft, maybe it is an extreme effort on the part of the construction company. But c'mon! Microsoft gives everyone else the shaft when it comes to LOL "product confusion." Product confusion is just as impossible to prove in court as "emotional pain."

I'd say Microsoft has it coming to them. I hope the construction company wins, and set a precedence for all future litigations brought on by Microsoft.
Posted by groink_hi (380 comments )
Link Flag
Apple vs Apple
As much confusion as there is between Apple computers and electronic bits and Apple music and beatle bits.

But several lawyesr will get new BMW's out of this.
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft can and will (continue to) do whatever they want..
Microsoft doesn't tolerate anyone naming a product even closely
resembling one of theirs, remember "Lindows"..? M$ doesn't make
anything called "Lindows" but another company can't use such a
product name because it sounds a bit like "Windows". Now
Microsoft thinks it can use an exact duplicate name of someone
else's product..!! Will Microsoft's arrogance never end..???
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
In my Professional Opinon.....
Microsoft has some validity to this and the original ForeFront company should just yield to the changes. I say this for 2 simple reasons that can show that ForeFront the construction company could never be hurt by Microsoft using the same name.

Why?

1. www.ForeFront.com is not owned by the company that is suing Microsoft. It's kinda odd that a company that has been around longer than the web hasn't grasped the domain name that best represents there product. In the case of just typing in www.ForeFront.com you don't get to the said companies website, the website you actually reach doesn't have anything to do with the ForeFront Software that is suing Microsoft. (www.ForeFront.com goes to here:<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.bellmicro.com/canada/home.asp" target="_newWindow">http://www.bellmicro.com/canada/home.asp</a>

2. Have you Googled ForeFront yet? You will find that Google-ing the word ForeFront like I was going to look for there software produces results that don't jive with a software company that has been around longer than the web. Take for instance my company: Tech01 (www.tech01.net). Google Tech01, I'm at the top, where I should be, do to time and proper web coding combined with a web address that represents my company.

So my question to all that are going to be involved in this; this includes and is not limited to Judges, Lawyers, and or company representatives: Taking the two points above in count as well as my credibility as a PROFESSION WEB MASTER/DEVELOPER (who not only understands EVERYTHING about the web from Protocols to DNS control but is also versed in Electronic Copyright ).

I believe that the company that is suing Microsoft saw an out to acquire a large settlement fund from a company that is worldly known to have a seriously hefty bank account and a track record of screwing the little guy. In this case though my Profession Opinion as somebody who understands the WWW as a whole more than most is seeing this as a farce, just a way to get your name in the paper for trying to sue the big guy for proceeding to create applications that affect the world.

In the time that I have been doing this I have seen Microsoft attacked from every angle under the sun with good merit in mind. In this case I believe MONEY is the motive and there is no merit to this case. But I guess we will have to leave that up the SUPER TECH LAWYERS of Microsoft, a local county Attorney (who knows nothing of technology) and a local Judge (who knows nothing if very little of the technology he will preside over).

J Gund
Tech01
www.tech01.net
Tech01 Mobil
Mobil.Tech01.net
Posted by OneWithTech (196 comments )
Reply Link Flag
duh...whap
Everything you stated has no bearing on the facts of the case. All you did was plug your supposed expertness and to look less like one(professional). This case is not about cybersquating or a domain name dispute, so how does who owns what doman name come into play? And just how does google ranking determine who can use what name?

You omit the most relevent facts to the case, the trademark to "forefront" and who owns it. And will there be confusion with two pieces of software using the same name. That is more relevant to the case than domain names.

And if I may ask, just what is a "PROFESSION WEB MASTER/DEVELOPER"

I suggest you go now and bask in your own self declared glory and get the tan you feel you so richly deserve. And while you are at it put a bandage on your foot as you are bleeding your "professionaly declared status" all over yourself.
Posted by R Me (196 comments )
Link Flag
no correct
Everything you stated has no bearing on the facts of the case. All you did was plug your supposed expertness and to look less like one(professional). This case is not about cybersquating or a domain name dispute, so how does who owns what doman name come into play? And just how does google ranking determine who can use what name?

You omit the most relevent facts to the case, the trademark to "forefront" and who owns it. And will there be confusion with two pieces of software using the same name. That is more relevant to the case than domain names.
Posted by R Me (196 comments )
Link Flag
I Disagree
"In this case I believe MONEY is the motive"

I disagree. Your analysis of the situation based on web presence is superficial, at best. The point isn't that the company has a huge web presence--perhaps that company doesn't feel that what you define as necessary presence is necessary at all. Software for the construction trade is a somewhat specific, relatively easy to target market. However, the fact that both companies are making software and using the same name can cause confusion.

The company that makes the original Forefront product has the duty and obligation to defend their trademark--or lose the right to protect it. That is trademark law. And by doing it this early in the process, before any real damage has occurred, it would appear that they're sincere in not wanting MS to use the name. Money isn't involved at all (since I doubt there are any real damages besides legal fees at this point).

Finally, I don't think that I'd want to be selling a software product that MS chose to use the same name. Two reasons: Some people avoid anything MS and that might affect my product's sales. And I don't want to have to deal with MS a decade from now when they decide that maybe I ought to change the name of my product.

By suing early, the original Forefront trademark owner satisfies a legal requirement (defend the trademark), and they will blunt any future effort by MS to expand its definition of the trademark they might share.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft Anti-bacterial?
If Microsoft's position is sincere, then Microsoft will have no objection to me launching a software product that measures counts of micro-organisms, since there can be no confusion between my Microsoft and their Microsoft since, according to their own argument, the prrograms do such completely different things.

Don't be naive. Even if a product was not software by an actual scientific instrument, for example, and someone tried to call the Microsoft Water Tester, say for testing soft water micro organisms, Microsoft would be arguing the EXACT OPPOSITE of its current case.

They follow a policy of "Do what I say, not what I do" or more to the point, "Do what is good for Microsft."
Posted by paper_boy (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Trademarks
Well, according with a search at U.S. Trademark Office
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=searchss&#38;state=1qroko.1.1" target="_newWindow">http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=searchss&#38;state=1qroko.1.1</a>
the "ForeFront" name was registered to Microsoft on 04/21/2006. Interesting enough, I see another entry from Dexter&#38;Channey, registered one month later, on 5/18/2006.
It's up to the lawyers to decide who owns the name trademark, but something tells me the construction firm is going to lose this battle...

Alin
Posted by alinconstantin (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Anybody remember Bookshelf?
There was Software called Bookshelf that was out for like 10 years.
The company didn't tademark the name, so Microsoft sued them
out of their name when M$ decided to name one of their products
Bookshelf.

Why doesn't Microsoft just trademark the whole dictionary? They
will always do what ever they want. And they still think we're just
that damn stupid.
Posted by fastdodge (32 comments )
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Posted by lucifinil (22 comments )
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