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September 19, 2006

Microsoft legal news, Forefront, pirates, Kroes says “Argh!”

Posted by David Hunter at 11:43 AM ET.

Microsoft sued over Forefront security brand:

A maker of software for construction companies has sued Microsoft over its use of the Forefront name for its security software.

Seattle-based Dexter + Chaney has been selling its “Forefront Construction Management Software” for nearly two decades, the company’s spokesman Brad Mathews said Friday. “The brand has come to mean a great deal to us and our clients, and we hope to our prospects as well,” he said.

Dexter + Chaney filed suit against Microsoft on Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle. The company is seeking an injunction barring Microsoft from using the Forefront name.

Microsoft announced Forefront in June as a single brand that encompasses updated and upcoming security products aimed at businesses. “They will be selling under our brand to the very same people that we sell to,” Mathews said. “Before the marketplace gets confused, and our business is hurt, we’d like them to pick another name.”

Microsoft’s new Forefront branding was announced back in June. I’ll refrain from attempting to explain trademark law and merely observe that there’s a good reason why all the Web 2.0 start-ups have “made up words” as names. Maybe Microsoft should have tried a brand like “Forfro.”

Microsoft files 20 more antipiracy lawsuits:

Continuing its worldwide assault on software piracy, Microsoft has filed 20 lawsuits against resellers accused of distributing unauthorized copies of its software.

The lawsuits, filed against 20 resellers in the U.S., accuse the companies of either distributing counterfeit software on CDs or installing it on PCs that are then sold to consumers and businesses, a practice known as hard disk loading, Microsoft said Tuesday.

The official press release is here and has some details of the forensic analysis of the counterfeit Windows XP CDs which frankly seem like junk. Apparently the resellers were caught by customers dropping a dime on them.

EU’s Kroes denies vendetta against Microsoft:

EU antitrust chief Neelie Kroes on Tuesday rejected an accusation she was pursuing a vendetta against U.S. software giant Microsoft and said she suspected a “coordinated campaign” to discredit her agency.

She was responding to a letter published by the newspaper from a Microsoft business partner who accused the EU Commission of “playing games” with Microsoft by raising concerns over the Vista operating system that could delay its launch in Europe.

It would help MS. Kroes’s case if she weren’t such an inveterate publicity hound. Of course, Microsoft continues to throw her red meat with their inclination to bundle applications into Vista and Office whose functionality was previously offered by third party developers.

Filed under Antitrust, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, Microsoft, OS - Client, Piracy, Windows Vista

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