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Lindows Judge Proposes MS Suspend Overseas Actions or Lose Permission to Appeal
Thursday, March 25 2004 @ 08:07 PM EST

The Lindows hearing yesterday resulted in the judge in Seattle suggesting Microsoft should suspend its overseas legal pursuit of Lindows until the US case is settled, or he will withdraw his permission to let the company appeal his ruling against them in the US and they will have to go directly to trial. When a judge tells you that, it means he is not pleased. The ruling MS is appealing is Judge Coughenour's decision that jurors will have to decide if Windows was a generic term before the mid-1980s. If they decide it was, it would mean it has no trademark protection for Lindows to infringe.

Forbes has the story. Microsoft has to make up its mind fast. They are scheduled to appear in an Amsterdam court on Tuesday. They had asked the court there to fine Lindows $123,410 for every day their website was accessible by folks in Benelux countries. In January the Netherlands judge ruled Lindows couldn't use the name there, because he said it infringed Windows' trademark. MS has also won preliminary injunctions in Finland and Sweden, all post the US matter going against them. Lindows brought the overseas actions to the US judge's attention in a live hearing yesterday, leading to the judge's proposed solution. There is no order yet. But this just hasn't been Microsoft's week.

eWEEK's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has reactions from Lindows and Microsoft:

"According to Michael Robertson, Lindows.com's CEO, in an eWEEK.com interview, 'The judge expressed displeasure that he had granted the right to an interim appeal because he was content with the status quo. But Microsoft took advantage of that to file clandestine actions in other jurisdictions trying to shut us down. When the judge mentioned that it might make sense to suspend international actions to keep the appeal possible in the U.S., Microsoft said they did not like that option.'

"Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake McCredy said of Lindows effort: 'This is a baseless effort by Lindows to avoid the jurisdiction of international courts where they are violating local trademark laws. If Lindows does not believe it can reasonably comply with a preliminary injunction issued in a given country, then it is most appropriate for them to raise the issue with the court that rendered the injunction.'"

The article says that if Microsoft doesn't accept the proposed solution, the judge is expected to rule shortly.


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