The naming spat has been running since 2001 and has seen Lindows lose out in similar wrangling in the Netherlands and Sweden.
The U.S. District Court in Seattle ruled Wednesday that the Microsoft trademark “windows” was too generic–and that because it had been in use before the company’s Windows operating system came into being, no outpouring of Redmond, Wash., marketing bucks could alter that.
The open-source company still faces more legal hurdles. The judge postponed the current March 1 trial date, itself a delayed start, to an unspecified time, pending an appeal from Microsoft.
Microsoft was not immediately available for comment on the decision.
Daniel Harris, Lindow’s lead trial counsel, said in a statement that the win was a major blow to Microsoft. “The court’s ruling confirms that a company, no matter how much money it spends, cannot buy a word out of the English language. These repeated filings by Microsoft are just another attempt to deplete our resources by dragging these legal proceedings on for as long as possible.”
Microsoft, which hopes to ban the company from using its Windows-spoofing name, has had some court rulings go in its favor. For example, the Benelux injunction forced Lindows to stop selling or advertising its products, cancel all outstanding orders, and stop users in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium from accessing its site.