Dutch court denies injunction, fines MS in Lindows case

Lindows is permitted to resume sales in the Benelux countries

Lindows Inc. claimed a victory in its latest trademark tussle with Microsoft Corp. this week after a Dutch court denied a request by Microsoft that the Linux-based software vendor be barred from using the Lindows name in connection with sales of its products in the Benelux countries: Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Under the ruling, Lindows is permitted to resume sales in the three countries and Microsoft must pay the San Diego, California, company €944 ($1,156) to cover legal costs, Lindows said.

The decision made in the Amsterdam District Court last Thursday is just the latest wrinkle in a prolonged, international trademark dispute between the companies. Microsoft has pursued cases against Lindows in the U.S., Canada and several other European countries, claiming that the Lindows name infringes upon its Windows trademark -- with varying success.

Earlier this year, a Dutch court ruled in favor of Microsoft, ordering Lindows to halt sales of it products under the Lindows name in the Benelux countries and make its Lindows.com Web site inaccessible to visitors from the countries. In response to the ruling, Lindows changed the name of its LindowsOS operating system to "Linspire" and created a new Linspire.com Web site address.

However, Microsoft claimed that the company was not fully complying with the ruling by using the Lindows trade name in conjunction with the sale of Linspire products and filed a second injunction request that the open source vendor be barred from distributing or advertising its products in the Benelux countries under the Lindows name with a penalty of €100,000 a day.

The court dismissed this request Thursday, calling the demand "too wide ranging," according to court documents. It also ordered that the Redmond, Washington, company immediately pay the cost of Lindows' legal action.

In a statement released Tuesday, Lindows Chief Executive Officer Michael Robertson lauded the decision as a turnaround and said the company would immediately resume sales of its Linspire products in the Benelux countries.

Representatives for Microsoft in Europe said they could not comment on the decision Wednesday.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

InfoWorld Technology of the Year Awards 2023. Now open for entries!