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Microsoft, Lindows face off in Dutch court

Microsoft is demanding the open-source software company be hit with a fine in excess of $100,000 per day for allegedly infringing on the Windows trademark.

Microsoft and Lindows faced off in a Dutch court Tuesday over allegations the Linux operating system company infringed on the Windows trademark.

Microsoft's lawsuit, which seeks a fine of more than $100,000 per day, is one of several the company has filed against Lindows, in jurisdictions in North America and Europe, during the past two years. In this case, the San Diego company is being sued for having "Lindows" appear on its Web site.

In recent weeks, the Linux company has rebranded its product line with the name "Linspire" and changed its Web address so that it no longer contains the word "Lindows," but Microsoft remains dissatisfied about the remaining use of the term.

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"Microsoft is continuing its bullying tactics, which have obliterated competition over the last 20 years and led to convictions on multiple continents," Lindows CEO Michael Robertson said in a statement. "Now Microsoft is taking the ridiculous position that the U.S.-required copyright notice in tiny text on the bottom of some of the pages of the Linspire.com Web site will confuse consumers...We hope the judge and the world will view Microsoft's actions as continuing anticompetitive behavior."

Microsoft, however, contends it would like the company to find a new corporate name and forgo using "Lindows."

"Lindows continues to infringe on our trademark with their corporate name, and it's important for us to take actions in these matters to ensure our trademark is protected," said Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake. "'Lindows' is one letter off from our trademark. It's obviously meant to invoke the Windows name."

A ruling in the Dutch case is expected around the end of the month, Drake said.

This case follows an earlier ruling by the Dutch court, which blocked the sale of Lindows products in the Netherlands and access to the Lindows Web site. After that ruling, the company in April changed the name of all its Lindows products and its Web site.

Microsoft has pursued Lindows for two years. In the United States, Microsoft filed an appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking to overturn a lower court's decision. The lower court declined to grant a preliminary injunction in the trademark case. No time frame has been given on when the appeals court will decide whether to hear the case, Drake said.

Last month, Lindows fought off a preliminary injunction Microsoft sought in France. Lindows has previously argued that Microsoft's trademark is invalid, since "windows" is a common term in the computing industry.

Although Microsoft has acknowledged that its operating-system dominance is increasingly threatened by the growing popularity of Linux, Drake said that has no bearing on the copyright lawsuits.