Microsoft just lost its case in the Netherlands! Excerpt from Lindows Inc's communiqué:

The Amsterdam District Court ruled on May 27, 2004 in favor of Lindows, Inc. on all counts in Microsoft's second attempt for a preliminary injunction on trademark infringement and has ordered Microsoft to pay Lindows 944 Euros. The court agreed with Lindows that not every use of the trade name Lindows infringes on the trademark "windows". Visit www.linspire.com/microsoftfine for a copy of the ruling in English.

"This victory is quite a turnaround because Microsoft had asked for a daily fine of 100,000 euros to be levied against us and instead they are the ones required to pay," said Michael Robertson, chief executive officer of Lindows, Inc. "We hope Microsoft can move past these legal tactics and learn to compete in the marketplace rather than the courtroom."

According to the ruling Lindows has complied with the use of the trade name and can continue to use the name Lindows on a limited basis, accompanied at all times with the additional phrase that Lindows is not affiliated with "windows" in any way. Since the trade name Lindows is still legal outside the Benelux and the use of the name does not justify a competitive advantage, the court concluded that the use does not contravene the prior judgement nor the settlement agreement. The court could not require nor was it obligated to have Lindows adapt its trade name outside the Benelux, ruling there was no infringing use of the trade name, and therefore denying Microsoft's claim and ordering the company to pay Lindows 944 Euros.

This ruling permits Lindows to resume sales in the Benelux countries. [...]

In 2003, Microsoft took its lawsuit overseas regarding MS Windows trademark infringement while the same issues were being heard in United States courts. In response to Microsoft's lawsuits worldwide and to continue operating overseas, Lindows changed its product name and website address in April 2004 to Linspire. Microsoft then filed a second request for a preliminary injunction in Amsterdam stating that Lindows was continuing to infringe on their trademark based on small print use of the trade name. Currently no products are being sold under the Lindows or Linspire name into the Netherlands and the term "Lindows" is not used on the website except as required for corporate and copyright identification purposes.

I think this ruling is going to have a strong effect on the similar trials in France and Sweden. This is clearly a major flaw in MSFT's copyright on the generic word "windows".