The protracted battle over trademarks between the world's biggest software company and a small Linux reseller appears to have been partially resolved - and the verdict isn't the one that wanted.

The dispute - which has raged on both sides of the Atlantic and seen Lindows hit with a €100,000-a-day fine for breaking a Dutch court order - looks to have been brought to a close in Europe. Lindows filed a suit against Microsoft, claiming that its European lawsuits were breaking US law by overruling the authority of the US courts.

Lindows' CEO, Michael Robertson, earlier branded the cases a "legal assault" against his company.

Judge John Coughenour, however, disagreed that the cases breached US law and said that there was "no reason" to interfere with foreign court rulings.

Lindows had also stated that one of the European rulings, that of blocking access to its site for users from Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, was impossible to comply with, because a persistent Linux fan could always circumvent the block by using US ISPs or billing addresses.

However, Coughenour said that Lindows' claim that it would have to shut down its site altogether to meet the Dutch ruling was unfounded, adding that normal blocking software would be sufficient for the purpose.

The result means that the all previous rulings won by Redmond in Finland, Sweden and the Benelux countries will stand. The case isn't an outright defeat for the Linux company though. A final decision on the use of the Lindows name in the US, which Microsoft claims is an infringement of its Windows trademark, is still pending.

Unlike the EU, the US courts have generally been favourable to Lindows, ruling that juries could consider the generic nature of the word 'Windows' outside the timeframe of when Gates and co started using it in the 80s when deciding if Lindows has broken trademark law. Microsoft is appealing the decision.


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