Thursday, January 22, 2004


The Register  

The Register: "Redmond was worsted in 'Microsoft' Aussie pillow fight
By John Lettice
Posted: 22/01/2004 at 12:14 GMT
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An Australian pillow manufacturer has been selling products using its 'exclusive new non allergenic and thoroughly hygienic Polyester Fibre 'Microsoft'' for some years now, and successfully rebuffed a legal challenge from The Mighty Redmond in 1997, the Sydney Morning Herald reveals exquisitely.

Purax Feather Holdings lodged a trademark application in 1991, and this was granted in July 1995. Microsoft, the parvenu, also holds an Australian trademark, but one in the class covering computers and computer software. Trademark-wise this is conceivably OK, because nobody could possibly confuse a large shapeless object stuffed with impact-deadening material with a pillow.

Microsoft Corporation nevertheless mounted an assault, and the Herald's report of the judge's ruling against the company in 1997 suggests to us that things have changed, and that it might now be worth another shot. 'The opponent,' he said, 'does not appear to have have any reputation for padding, stuffing and filling materials, as at the date of the present mark's application.'

Well it sure as hell does now - duck feathers, horsefeathers, do you reckon they're that different? Microsoft Corporation's much-enhanced reputation for padding, stuffing and filling during subsequent years might well prove a problem for Purax Feather Holdings, considering it should maybe have been defending its trademark. We reckon Purax should call its lawyers before it's too late."

I don't usually post an entire article, but this one deserves the light of day, in the light of the recent David & Goliath exhibition put on by Microsoft vs. Mike Rowe. Yes, the law says "Defend your trademark or lose it", but you can be TOO vigorous about it. The example above, from Australia, illustrates an even more blatant case of direct abuse, yet Microsoft lost because they tried to be all things to all people. Now, should Redmond ever start making pillows (that we can use while waiting for Big Red(mond) or their products to be secure, lean, and better than anything else out there), then they'll be back in court, being sued.

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