Re: Windows trademark news?

Subject: Re: Windows trademark news?
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 11:54:51 -0800

Hart, Geoff wrote:

(Substitute "trademarked" for copyrighted? You can't copyright a name.)
You're right. An obvious error. Sorry.

it happens, Lindows is probably wrong in this specific aspect; nobody else
could name a computer operating system "Windows" and survive the court
challenge. One of the primary aspects of trademark law is that it's intended
to protect a manufacturer of a product by preventing anyone from erroneously
purchasing a similarly named product (named similarly in an intent to steal
sales from the original name). Calling a new operating system "Windows"
would clearly violate this provision.

You're right, but as some of the comments below the article suggest, you might successfully market a new operating system called "Linux for Windows," or something similar.

Which is rather interesting given that Microsoft itself does not include
either a TM or an (R) in any of its manuals after the first page that
defines ownership of the product's name. (Windows is also not trademarked in
the online help for Win 98.) If they don't follow their own advice, why
should we?

To be fair, I think that this preference was stated fairly recently, so it might not have been carried out yet.

However, I have mixed feelings about this preference. On the one hand, the wishes of the holder of the trademark should be respected - no matter who the holder is. On the other hand, if the copyright is acknowledged in the front matter, and maybe the first time that the trademark is used, that should be adequate acknowledgement of ownership and your lack of any intention to infringe. Frankly, Microsoft's preference is a bit of a nuisance.
Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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Windows trademark news?: From: Hart, Geoff

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