Windows Vista faces possible trademark challenges

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, announced the name of its forthcoming version of the Windows operating system from its headquarters in Redmond, Washington Friday. But in choosing the name “Vista,” Microsoft may find itself in a legal fight.

Microsoft has made a name for itself in legal circles as a company that fiercely defends its trademarks and other intellectual property. With the choice of “Vista,” the tables may turn as it may face allegations of swiping another company’s trademark.

It appears the Vista name has already been taken by another high-tech company, coincidentally also based in Redmond. A few miles from the sprawling Microsoft campus is Vista Incorporated, which has operated a small business internet interchange since it was founded by Wall Data founder, John Wall in 2000. He was surprised by his larger neighbor’s move.

“We are going to consider our options and talk to Microsoft,” Wall said in an interview with the Seattle Times. Wall reportedly has not yet filed suit against Microsoft to stop it from using the “Vista” name. An investor in SCO, he does have other legal options aside from law suits. Instead, he may offer to sell the rights to the “Vista” name.

However, John Wall’s company is not the only business with claims on the name “Vista.” Many other tech companies use “Vista” as product names. Additionally, a wide-range of non-computer businesses have the name reserved, including branded products for sewing machines, elevators and the dairy industry.

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