February 14, 2002

Lindows.com releases opposition papers in Microsoft trademark suit

Author: JT Smith

"Lindows.com today released copies of
its main opposition papers to the pending trademark lawsuit filed by
Microsoft Corporation at lindows.com/opposition.
In the lawsuit, Microsoft seeks to prevent Lindows.com from using the
term "LindowsOS" and "Lindows.com."(This press release summarizes some, but not all of the major
opposition points. There are some portions which are not readable
because Microsoft claims that certain facts about what they have done
in the past should be kept confidential. Lindows.com intends to ask the
Judge to allow them to make those parts public, but until then, this is
all Lindows.com can share.)

According to a statement posted at their website, Lindows.com claims
Microsoft is trying to prevent the public from using a descriptive
English word "windows" which has had meaning in the computer industry
for years prior to Microsoft's use. They explain how companies such as
Xerox, DEC, and Apple have used the term for years to describe
graphical user interfaces which incorporate graphical elements to
display and manage applications. Not until 1983 did Microsoft start
using the term 'windows', in connection with an operating system
product. Microsoft waited 7 years before they decided to file a
trademark application for "windows" in 1990. US Patent and Trademark
Office records show that at least one company lodged a significant
protest. The US Patent and Trademark Office subsequently rejected
Microsoft's application because "windows" was a generic word.
(Microsoft has a pattern of pairing their name with a generic term such
a "Microsoft Word." This is discussed in a Declaration by John Dvorak
in relationship to this case at www.lindows.com/opposition.) The US PTO
later reversed itself only after Microsoft .

A Washington, DC Court has found that over the last decade Microsoft
has engaged in unlawful practices and spent billions on marketing and
advertising to establish and extend an illegal monopoly. "No matter how
much money a company spends, they should not be allowed to prevent
others from using a descriptive term widely used in the industry;
especially if that company has been found guilty of illegal tactics to
build and maintain its monopoly." said Michael Robertson, CEO for
Lindows.com. "This would be like a furniture company selling a 'Super
Chair', driving other furniture companies out of business illegally,
and then trying to gain exclusive rights to the word "chair" and block
all competitors from using it."

Another critical fact that Lindows.com points to as clearly
illuminating Microsoft's true motivations is that over the last 10
years Microsoft has never filed a lawsuit similar to the one they filed
against Lindows.com in spite of the fact that there are hundreds of
products which use the term "windows." Lindows.com users helped to
identify hundreds of products which use or incorporate the term
"windows." These products run on a variety of operating systems
(including Linux and Macintosh), and some are actually operating
systems themselves. There are commercial products, shareware, freeware,
open source, and even hardware products. None of these products are
made by Microsoft; none have licensed the term "windows" from
Microsoft, but Microsoft has never filed a lawsuit against any of them.
Take a trip to any computer store, flip through a mail order catalog or
visit any software site on the Internet and you will find many, many
products entitled windows something or something windows. Additionally,
hundreds more products containing "win" or other such variations, yet
Microsoft hasn't brought any action against them. Ask yourself this --
"Why would Microsoft allow these thousands of products to use what they
claim to be their trademark with no protest whatsoever, but decide to
sue Lindows.com?" The fact that Microsoft is targeting only Lindows.com
demonstrates their real motivation is to stop a potential competitor
and NOT that they believe there's confusion concerning the product
name.

While Microsoft alleges people will be confused when they asked the
judge to shut down Lindows.com, they offered no evidence whatsoever
that anyone was actually confused between Microsoft's programs and
LindowsOS. In fact, an independent marketing company conducted a
survey, asking over 14,000 likely buyers to participate. The results
revealed that not even a SINGLE respondent was confused. The survey was
supervised by an expert from San Diego State University. Read about the
survey results at www.lindows.com/opposition. Microsoft offered no
expert testimony (apart from Microsoft employees). They conducted no
surveys, but if they had, they would have found out exactly what the
other research revealed; that there is NO confusion whatsoever among
potential buyers.

Michael Robertson commented, "We want to focus on building our product
and not fighting in court, but we also think it's important to stand up
to the bully on the first playground encounter otherwise he'll chase
you home every day. We have offered a compromise to Microsoft whereby
we would continue to use our company name Lindows.com since that bears
no resemblance whatsoever to Microsoft, but we would not use LindowsOS
as our product name. This offer was not accepted."

The next step in the lawsuit is a court hearing February 27th where the
judge will hear oral arguments and then make his ruling either at that
time or a later date.

Lindows.com has just released a Sneak Preview of LindowsOS to a select
group of Insiders. The Sneak Preview is not a fully completed product
but showcases many of the unique features such as a friendly install
alongside an existing Microsoft Windows operating system, a streamlined
installation process which requires no computer knowledge and the
ability to run popular Windows-based programs. This will be followed by
version 1.0 which will go on sale later this year for $99. For more
information see www.lindows.com/products

To receive Lindows.com press releases via email signup at
www.lindows.com/mailing

About Lindows.com, Inc.

Lindows.com is a consumer company that brings choice to computer users.
Lindows.com, Inc. uses the latest technology to create affordable,
intuitive, user-friendly products. Lindows.com, Inc. was started by
Michael Robertson, founder and former CEO of MP3.com. At the core of
Lindows.com is a new operating system called LindowsOS?, a modern,
affordable, easy-to-use operating system with the ability to run both
Microsoft Windows® and Linux® software.

About Michael Robertson

On the frontlines of music aggregation and distribution, Robertson
founded MP3.com, Inc., the Internet's premier Music Service Provider
(MSP) in March 1998. MP3.com revolutionized both the way new artists
distribute their music as well as the way music lovers acquire and
enjoy music. Robertson and the rest of the MP3.com team built a unique
and robust technology infrastructure that facilitated the storage,
management, promotion and delivery of digital music. MP3.com hosts the
largest collection of digital music available on the Internet with more
than 1 million songs and audio files posted from over a hundred
thousand digital artists and record labels with millions of music fans.
Robertson stepped down as CEO of MP3.com to start Lindows.com.
Robertson continues to serve in an advisory capacity to Vivendi
Universal. MP3.com, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vivendi
Universal, S. A.

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