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Software firm sues Apple over use of OS 9 name

Microware Systems files suit against Apple, alleging that the company violated the trademark for its "OS-9" operating system software.

Apple Computer, which has recently sued several computer companies for trademark infringement, finds itself the subject of a new lawsuit alleging the same.

Des Moines, Iowa-based Microware Systems, a software maker, has filed suit against Apple in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa alleging that the company violated the trademark for its "OS-9" operating system software when by calling the next version of its Macintosh operating system "OS 9."

An operating system is the software that controls the basic hardware functions of a computer.

In the suit, Microware claims that Apple's use of the name OS 9 will cause confusion as to who is offering the software. As a result, Microware is seeking an order that would refrain Apple from using the name in advertising and promotional material and is asking for the earnings Apple may derive from the sale of Mac OS 9, as well as other costs associated with the case.

At a recent trade show, Apple said that it intended to start shipping the upcoming revision to its operating system in mid-October, and would call it Mac OS 9.

One of Microware's primary products is its "OS-9" operating system software, which is used in devices such as cable TV set-top boxes, consumer electronics, and factory automation systems. The company also sells programs used to develop applications for its software.

Microware makes a version of its software for use on PowerPC processors. Apple computers also use PowerPC processors.

The trademark suit comes as Apple is aggressively pursuing companies that have recently come out with computers that it said too closely resemble the iMac computers.

Microware declined to comment on the suit. Apple could not be immediately reached for comment.