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Dutch judge blocks Lindows over trademark issue

Microsoft wins a preliminary injunction that bars Lindows, maker of a Linux OS that mimics Windows, from selling products under the Lindows name in the Netherlands and other Benelux countries.

Linux seller Lindows has lost the first of several trademark challenges by Microsoft.

The company, which sells a version of the Linux operating system intended to mimic Microsoft's Windows, acknowledged Friday that a Dutch judge had ruled against the company in a Microsoft case claiming the Lindows name infringes on Microsoft's Windows trademark.

A judge in Amsterdam District Court issued a preliminary injunction barring the company from selling or advertising any products under the Lindows name in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Courts in Finland and Sweden have issued similar injunctions.

Microsoft has filed similar trademark claims against Lindows in the United States, but the judge there has repeatedly denied Microsoft's requests for an injunction against

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Lindows, which claims "windows" is a generic computing term and therefore ineligible for trademark status. That case is scheduled to go to trial March 1 in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

Lindows CEO Michael Robertson has said Microsoft should wait for a decision in the U.S. case before expanding the trademark dispute to other areas. "They were unsuccessful in the U.S. with this tactic, so now they're resorting to picking countries where they will find a sympathetic court," he said in a statement.

The trademark case hasn't been the only legal animus between Microsoft and Lindows. A California judge recently ruled in Microsoft's favor in a case concerning a Lindows-backed site that offered to process claims online for California consumers eligible for proceeds from the settlement of a class-action antitrust suit against Microsoft in the state. The judge administering the case agreed with Microsoft that claims processed through the Lindows site did not meet the terms of the settlement.