Microsoft's Windows Vista May Infringe on Another Co.'s Trademark

The Seattle Times reported over the weekend that Microsoft "may have stepped on the toes of another software company just down the road in Redmond" when it announced that the next version of Windows will be called Vista. Reporter Brier Dudley noted that technology executive John Wall has owned a trademark on the name "Vista" for six years, in addition to possessing the domain name.

"Itis further confusion to a confusing mark," Mr. Wall told Mr. Dudley, referring to the fact that the word "vista" has been trademarked by various companies for different uses. He plans to "consider our options and talk to them." A Microsoft spokeswoman told Mr. Dudley that no companies had addressed problems with the trademark as of Friday afternoon, and she noted: "The name Vista is commonly used by a variety of companies in a variety of industries. We are only using the word Vista paired with our trademark Windows so the two together -- iWindows Vistai -- form the name of our next operating system."

Mr. Dudley also spoke with a pair of naming experts who were split on Microsoftis decision. One asked: "If they called it Windows Garbage, would people still buy it? Yeah, theyid buy it." The other, however, felt that Vista was overused, pointing out: "Just enter it in Google and youill see a million hits."

A free registration with The Seattle Times is required to view Mr. Dudleyis article because it has entered the newspaperis archives.