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Lindows: Trademark case could get expensive

The open-source software maker says Microsoft wants a Dutch court to fine Lindows more than $100,000 per day for not blocking certain visitors to its Web site.

    Microsoft wants a big chunk of change from Lindows in the companies' continuing trademark dispute in Europe, Lindows said Friday.

    The open-source software maker said that it has received papers from Microsoft asking a Dutch court to fine it $123,000 (100,000 euros) per day for not blocking visitors to its Web site from the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. The action comes as the companies await a final decision in Microsoft's case against Lindows.

    But such blocking could not be foolproof, Lindows argued, saying visitors could get to its Web site using international Internet service providers (ISPs), proxy servers, anonymizer software and other methods that would obscure their origin. The company also said Friday it has completely removed its products from those markets.

    Microsoft has argued in a number of courts around the world that Lindows, which makes a version of the Linux operating system, has infringed on its Windows trademark. Lindows lost a round when a judge in Amsterdam District Court issued a preliminary injunction barring Lindows from selling or advertising any products under the Lindows name in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Courts in Finland and Sweden have issued similar rulings, while a judge in the United States has repeatedly denied such requests.

    Pending settlement of the trademark dispute, San Diego-based Lindows last month said it would do business in the Benelux countries as Lin---s. Now, however, the Lin---s.com site shows only a note saying that visitors from the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg may not access the company's Web site nor purchase its products.

    "We have completely withdrawn our products from these markets and put notices on every page of our Web site, yet Microsoft is still asking that the Judge fine us 100,000 euros per day because non-U.S. visitors can view our U.S.-based Web site," Lindows CEO Michael Robertson said in statement. "Microsoft's actions demonstrate this has nothing to do with protecting their Dutch trademark or confusion in the marketplace, but is simply an attempt to put us out of business."