Microsoft has opened another European front in its war to get Lindows.com to change its name.
The company has won a temporary restraining order which prohibits Lindows.com from use of the marks "Lindows", "Lindows.com", and "LindowsOS" in Sweden, pending a later decision on alleged trademark infringement. The judgment in effect halts Lindows OS sales in the country.
Microsoft last month threatened legal action against LindowsOS in the Netherlands. It has also started legal action in France against Lindows.com and a Lindows OS reseller, Lindows.com says.
Microsoft is also taking action against Lindows in Belgium and Luxembourg, and has sent warning letters to resellers. But it told IDG News Service this week that it is not targeting individual LindowsOS resellers. A US court will decide next year if Lindows.com infringes Microsoft's Windows trademarks.
Now for some fighting talk from Michael Robertson, Lindows.com's boss: "Microsoft is using lawsuits as a battering ram to smash Linux, to prevent it from reaching retail stores. We're hopeful that the Judge will see Microsoft's true intentions are to sustain their monopoly and will grant Swedish computer users the same choices that global computer users are benefiting from.
"Microsoft tried this identical legal manouvre in the US, attempting to block the growth of Linux with mainstream computer users. The US Courts denied their request multiple times and today more than 100 retailers sell Linux desktop and laptop computers, forcing Microsoft to compete in the United States for the first time in many years, giving consumers more choices and better prices."
Lindows.com this week launched in Sweden ChoicePC, a "rallying point for international resellers seeking shelter from Microsoft's tactics and for customers worldwide who want choice to remain available for their computers".
Lifetime Lindows OS membership costs $100 and numbers are capped at 500 for each country in which ChoicePC is promoted. Membership is sold out in the Netherlands, and is already up to 435 in Sweden. France, the third country where ChoicePC operates, is somewhat of a laggard, with just eight sign-ups at time of writing. ®
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Lindows has helpfully published a copy of the Swedish court papers it has received. And here they are, for your edification.
STOCKHOLM CITY COURT
Case No. T 21006-03
10 December 2003
File No. 23
Handled in the absence of the parties
Ulrika Carlehall, magistrate
Keeper of the minutes
Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Bldg 8/1078, Redmond, WA 98052, USA
Counsel: Stefan Bernhard and Richard Jacobson, attorneys-at-law,
Box 5402, 114 854 Stockholm
Lindows.com Inc., 9333 Genesee Avenue 3rd Floor, San Diego CA 92121, USA
Trademark infringement, now matter of injunction
Microsoft has raised a claim against Lindows.com for trademark infringement and requested that the city court prohibit Lindows.com to use the marks LINDOWS, LINDOWS.COM and LINDOWS.OS, under a penalty of five million SEK. Microsoft has requested that the city court will immediately, and without Lindows.com being given the opportunity of a prior statement, decree in accordance with the claim.
Having examined the documents the city court makes the following
The city court prohibits, for the time until the case has finally settled or anything else has been decided, Lindows.com to use LINDOWS, LINDOWS.COM and LINDOWS.OS, as marks for products or services regarding operative systems, under a penalty of three million (3 000 000) SEK.
Microsoft is the holder of trademark registrations in Sweden among other countries for the marks WINDOWS, WINDOWS NT, WINDOWS WAREHOUSE and WINDOWS WORLD. The trademark WINDOWS is used worldwide by Microsoft to identify Microsoft's operative systems.
Lindows.com is a US company registered in California. From the examination submitted by Microsoft in the case it appears that Lindows markets and sells an operative system under the name LINDOWS in many countries, Sweden being one of them.
In support of its claim that an injunction be issued without Lindows's prior statement Microsoft has stated among other things that on 10 and 11 December 2003, Lindows is carrying out a campaign in Stockholm to market Lindows's operative system under the mark LINDOWS.
The city court makes the following judgement.
Microsoft has shown probable reasons for the alleged infringement. It may reasonably be expected that Lindows will continue the infringement and diminish the value of the sole right to the marks. A delay would imply a risk for damage. On these grounds an injunction shall be issued immediately.
The security -- three million SEK -- which has been placed for any damage that Lindows may suffer as a result of the prohibition may be considered as acceptable.
The extent of the activities of Lindows or the economic status of the company do not appear from the investigation in the case. Against this background a penalty of three million SEK may be assumed to induce the company to observe the prohibition.
The decision may be appealed specifically
The city court issues a summons.
Lindows.com is ordered, not later than 26 January 2004, and by notification to the city court, to appoint a proxy who is authorised to receive service of process in the case on behalf of the company. The proxy shall be domiciled in Sweden, in another state within the European Economic Cooperation area or Switzerland.
Service of these minutes, summons in the case and the application for summons with the attached documents shall be dispatched through the offices of the plaintiff. Microsoft shall no later than 12 January 2004 submit a certificate of service to the city court.