Lindows wins a round in naming battle

The open-source software firm has won the right to use its name in certain circumstances

In the ongoing dispute over whether or not Linux reseller Lindows' name treads on Microsoft's trademark toes, the open-source company has finally scored a financial win against the Redmond giant.

The Amsterdam court -- which had previously demanded Lindows cease business in the Netherlands after deciding Lindows (now operating under the moniker of Linspire) sounded a little bit like Windows and had also heard Microsoft's plea for a €100,000 a day fine against the company -- has now ruled that not every instance of Lindows name can legally offend the software behemoth.

The Linux minnow might feel slightly aggrieved though -- the princely sum the Dutch court ordered Microsoft to pay as recompense is just €944.

What might hearten the company more is that it will now be able to resume trading under the Lindows name in the Benelux countries of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, as long the use of the name comes with a written proviso when it's used that Lindows is in no way affiliated with Gates and chums.

In April, Lindows changed its customer-facing name and its website address to Linspire to dodge the raft of lawsuits Microsoft had launched claiming trademark infringement.

The company still operates under the trade name Lindows, which appears in the small print on the firm's site. The failure of the name to disappear altogether got Microsoft's hackles up.

The Dutch court ruled that since Lindows does business outside Benelux under its original Windows-baiting appellation, it didn't have the power to demand the name be dropped entirely.

Linspire chief executive Michael Robertson said he hoped Microsoft would now stick to taking on the Linux firm in the commercial marketplace and leave the courtroom alone.