The move comes just one day after Sun won approval to submit its Java programming language to the International Committee for Information Technology Standardization, and marks the latest wrinkle in Microsoft's legal wrangling over Java.
Sun, in an earlier lawsuit, alleged that Microsoft had improperly modified its Java technology and failed to pass Sun's compatibility tests. Sun alleged that Microsoft violated the terms of the Java licensing agreement, and consequently filed a breach-of-contract suit last month.
"We take very seriously our stewardship of this remarkable technology, which includes keeping the promise of cross-platform compatibility that our logo stands for," Michael H. Morris, Sun's general counsel, said in a statement. "Today's filing signals that we will act to protect both that technology and the trademark."
Sun's filing, made in the San Jose division of the U.S. District Court's Northern California District, is in direct response to counterclaims that Microsoft made to Sun's legal action, Morris said.
Microsoft countersued Sun over allegations of a breach of contract, failure to operate in good faith and fair dealing, and unfair competition. Microsoft said Sun repeatedly failed to abide by the obligations of its 1996 agreement with the software giant.
Sun's suit claims that Microsoft is attempting to break Java's cross-platform compatibility in order to develop a version of the technology that works only with Microsoft products. The Java-compatible logo appears on packaging and promotional materials for some Microsoft products.
"A significant part of the value of the Java technology depends on the acceptance by the public of the promise that Sun will stand behind that technology and do everything possible to enable the products with the Java logo to be capable of delivering 'Write Once, Run Anywhere' performance," Morris said.
Microsoft, for its part, was equally adamant about the justification of its position in the battle.
"We think we have the right to use the logo and will continue to do so, and will argue that in front of the judge," said Cornelius Willis, Microsoft's platform marketing director.
Willis added that the licensing agreement contains a clause about the potential for Sun to collect monetary damages. There is no such clause about not enjoining the software giant with a preliminary injunction.
In a similar controversy, Netscape voluntarily removed the Java-compatible logo from its Communicator 4.04 browser. The company said the action was overdue in its effort to provide full support for the Java Development Kit (JDK) 1.1. Netscape said it removed the logo in order to ensure that there would be no misunderstandings among developers and users.
Meanwhile, the 20 member nations in the International Committee for Information Technology Standardization approved Sun's application to become a "recognized submitter" of Java. The vote was a key win for Sun, giving it more authority on what will eventually become the sole Java standard.
But Sun still has to translate Java's existing language into the committee's format. It also will circulate the specification among licensees and post it on its Web site. Once submitted to the standards body, the spec must be voted on and approved by ISO members.
Gaining status as an ISO standard would significantly broaden Java's market, because some government agencies and universities won't buy products that are not based on ISO standards.