Microsoft Tries To Smother Pillow Company

from the let's-try-that-again dept

aNonMooseCowherd writes in with the latest in Microsoft’s overeager trademark lawyers. Not content to sue 17-year-old kids for creating similar sounding domain names, they’re also upset with an Australian pillow and quilt maker who happens to hold the trademark on “Microsoft”, as the term is used in a couple of the quilts that they sell – as in: “Our exclusive new non allergenic and thoroughly hygienic Polyester Fibre “Microsoft” ensures a luxurious nights sleep.” You can understand a bit more why Microsoft’s lawyers aren’t thrilled about this one – especially since the company has only been using the name for a bit over a decade. However, it’s extremely unlikely that anyone is going to see this quilt and assume it was somehow made by the folks in Redmond (though, can’t you just picture Bill and Steve and the gang sitting around in a quilting circle?). Once again, the point of trademark law isn’t to give you a monopoly over a word, but to ensure that there isn’t confusion in the marketplace.

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Comments on “Microsoft Tries To Smother Pillow Company”

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LittleW0lf says:

Microsoft Trademark Madness

Once again, the point of trademark law isn’t to give you a monopoly over a word, but to ensure that there isn’t confusion in the marketplace.

Right, and Microsoft doesn’t have a leg to stand on, as trademark laws specifically state that the mark is not infinged upon if the goods of the parties are not similar enough to cause confusion, and they’d be hard-pressed to find a judge with a straight face (at least in the US,) who would allow such a case to proceed.

Pillows and Computer Operating Systems are not even remotely related, especially since the two products (at least in my house) tend to be mutually exclusive. When I am on the computer (albiet I am not using a Microsoft OS on my computer,) I certainly am not using my pillow. Likewise, when I am using my pillow (usually to check my eyelids for holes,) I am not using my computer.

Ed Halley says:

No Subject Given

I completely agree about the “unique mark in a certain market” argument.

However, it’s also true that companies DO spread outside their original marketplace.

We can talk about Apple Records vs Apple Computers; at what point is electronic audio capability really encroaching into the “music industry”?

We can talk about Paul Newman’s salad dressings.

We can talk about neon-encrusted diners with names like Fonzie’s.

We can even talk about Microsoft branding on soft consumer products. Remember their furtive attempt at toybranding, when they made a Teddy Ruxpin knockoff that was supposed to be super-smart in comparison?

And it’s also true that small companies try to pull a fast one, either without any common sense or out of sheer greed. I saw a sign-maker shop in Arizona called “Sign Trek.” They boldly used the Federation logo where no shop had used one before, featured the Star Trek fonts on most of their exterior, and had planets and spaceship murals on their walls. Think they got an agreement with Paramount for that? Yeah, right.

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