The two companies confirmed Tuesday that they will be forced to wait until March 1, 2004, to get their day in court. The jury trial was slated to begin next month, but has been postponed due to a scheduling conflict.
Proceedings were originally planned for April 2003, but the judge overseeing the caseto give Lindows time to review documents from a 1992 trademark case that pitted Apple Computer against Microsoft. In that case, Microsoft argued--successfully--that it had not infringed on Apple's copyright because the windowed graphical interface of the Mac operating system had been used by other companies.
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However, in May last year, U.S. District Judge John Coughenourto shutter the Lindows site, questioning whether Microsoft had the right to the word "windows." In October, Lindows asked the judge to toss out the case altogether, arguing that Microsoft's trademark is invalid because "windows" is a generic term, but Coughenour said that a jury should decide the matter.
San Diego-based, whose products include a version of the open-source Linux operating system, has made no secret of its aim to offer a direct alternative to Microsoft's dominant Windows software.
The two companies are currently involved in Web site that offers those who qualify for the settlement the ability to swap settlement vouchers from Microsoft for Lindows software.that centers on Lindows' efforts to cash in on a California agreed to by Microsoft. Lindows set up a
Lindows CEO Michael Robertson, who sponsored ato crack the security code in Microsoft's Xbox gaming console, has previously said he to result in one of the two companies losing a valuable trademark. Robertson believes that the term "windows" was used by other computer industry companies before Microsoft attached it to its products, and he envisions a world where it could become an industrywide term.
"If we prevail, what you could see is AOL Windows, Gateway Windows, Dell Windows," Robertson said in a recent interview with CNET News.com. "How about Dell having their own version of an operating system they put on their computers? That would be a great thing, and the kind of world that could potentially happen if Microsoft loses their trademark protection for Windows."
Munir Kotadia of ZDNet UK reported from London.