The Null Device

A Microsoft that ensures a good night's sleep

In the US, Microsoft are suing a student named Mike Rowe for running an outfit called MikeRoweSoft (find the URL yourself; every angry penguin has linked to it); however, here in Australia, a pillow-maker is using the trademark "Microsoft", and there's not a thing Darth Gates' minions can do about it, as it's quite legal under Australian trademark law.
"Accordingly, I cannot accept the opponent's assertion that purchasers would be confused or deceived as to the origin of the two marks in question. The two sets of goods of interest to both parties are most certainly not, in my opinion, goods of the same description. I cannot agree that the opponent's undoubted reputation for computers and the like extends to the materials which are the subject of the present application."

Though I wonder whether this state of affairs would survive a US-Australian Free Trade Agreement.

There are 8 comments on "A Microsoft that ensures a good night's sleep":

Posted by: Reen http:// Thu Jan 22 16:26:02 2004

Under U.S. law, the Microsoft pillow might be considered "dilutive" of Microsoft the Software's mark. This isn't because of a likelihood of confusion, but because if, eventually, everyone starts naming all their oddball products "Microsoft," the mark won't be special anymore. It's like if you started selling Kodak Throat one's going to mix them up with film, but...

Posted by: mark Fri Jan 23 00:06:33 2004

Hell, if there <em>was</em> any confusion, it wouldn't hurt Microsoft -- rather, it'd be a problem for the pillow manufacturer. "How do I know my pillow won't crash"? And so on.

Posted by: mitch http:// Fri Jan 23 00:26:52 2004

They also have plans for a bedroom venetian blind called "Bluescreen".

Posted by: Alex http:// Fri Jan 23 01:55:14 2004

Is that for when you come home plastered and all you want to do is crash?

Posted by: dj Fri Jan 23 02:12:20 2004

I once had someone send me threatening emails claiming i was breaking his copyright by using his dj name (djwatermelon was a username i used to have and write under).

I tried to look him up through various means, but the only hits i could find at the time were referring to me. I eventually found that he had used the handle on a dj chatboard, around four years after i had started using the name.

What topped it off was that he sent this fake e-mail from some law firm that didn't exist.

This was just such a great invitation to continue this correspondence that i got a lawyer friend to draft a letter for me in reply.

I greatly enjoyed replying to him that what he meant was a trademark, which he had failed to register in either the US or Australia and that since I had prior use he would almost certainly fail to register the trademark if i contested it.

That is your piece of inane personal trivia for the day.

Posted by: Wrenkin Fri Jan 23 03:48:37 2004

It's in Canada ^_^

Posted by: Ben Fri Jan 23 04:35:56 2004

The FTA has to actually survive long enough to be born, first. With strong domestic oppo in the US, and the PBS problem here, and it being an election year in both countries... we'll see.

Posted by: acb Fri Jan 23 06:57:21 2004

Can you see it actually being derailed, or indeed Labor compromising its business-friendly and not-at-all-scary-or-socialist credentials to block it in the Senate?

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