Microsoft Windows Vista Facing Trademark Problems
Seems like these days, every new product that launches runs into some kind of problem with trademarks, especially if the product is launched by Microsoft. Last week, Microsoft announced that their long awaited operating system of the future, previously known as Longhorn, will be marketed under the brand name Microsoft Windows Vista. Ah, Vista… the word brings images of green praries, blue horizons, rolling hills, and lawyers dancing in joy with dollar signs in their eyes, enthralled with the chance of suing Bill Gates and company.
Apparently there is a sewing machine company, an elevator safety company, and an industrial soap which all go by the name Vista. After doing a search on MSN Search for the term “Vista”, I also found the Volunteers In Service To America, Vista Small Business Software (which would have a leg to stand on in court and also owns the Vista.com URL), AltaVista (owned by MSN rival Yahoo), VistaPrint business cards, and Vista Treatment Center for helping families with social problems.
The odd and overused name chosen by Microsoft has some intellectual property experts wondering why Microsoft, the over aggressive company which sued Mike Rowe over the URL of his website – MikeRoweSoft.com, would chose such a name that is going to be the easy target of lawsuits and trademark disputes. “It seems like they were a little lax in their intellectual property due diligence — maybe because they’re so big, maybe because they’re so powerful, maybe because they feel they can do anything they want,” James T. Berger, a marketing communications consultant told the AP.
However, Microsoft spokesperson Stacy Drake is quite confident the company will not face any serious trouble using the Windows Vista name, “We conducted a thorough search to ensure that the new Windows Vista mark wouldn’t infringe on the mark of any others.”
According to trademark law, a company is generally fine as long as it does not use a name for a product that might confuse consumers into mistaking that product for something made by another company. For example, Microsoft Windows Vista has a chance of intruding on the market of Vista Business Software company and confusing consumers. On the contrary, Americorps Volunteers In Service To America would probably benefit from the term becoming a household name and hae no reason to take the technology monster to court. Vista, Inc.’s CEO John Wall, who runs a software company based in Microsoft’s home town, told The Seattle Times Vista, Inc. is looking into taking their trademark concerns to the courts. This should be an interesting fight, hope you all have a ‘boa vista’.