Windows Vista faces trademark challenges

Windows Vista faces trademark challenges

The founder of a Redmond, Washington-based custom application and services provider is considering taking action to challenge Microsoft over the naming of the next version of the Windows operating system (OS).

John Wall, chief executive officer of Vista Inc., said his company is "considering all of its options" for a potential case against Microsoft because of the company's choice of the name "Windows Vista" for the previously code-named Longhorn version of the OS.

Wall said the naming of Windows may violate a trademark his company has and potentially create confusion over the software and services Vista provides. Vista is headquartered just down the road from Microsoft and provides small businesses with online information systems, including custom applications, as well as with consulting services.

"If people call it Windows Vista, that’s not a problem," he said. "If people call it 'Vista,' that confuses it with our business and what we do."

The issue for Vista is particularly prickly because the company deals mainly in the small business market, a segment where Microsoft also figures prominently, he added.

Wall's company is not the only one that might have a case against Microsoft in the naming of the next version of Windows. There are at least two other software companies, both named Vista Software, that might have a good argument against Microsoft's using the Vista moniker.

However, the presidents of the two companies called Vista Software, both of which provide add-on technology for Microsoft products, separately said their companies likely will benefit from Microsoft's choice of name for the next version of Windows because of their current affiliation with the Redmond, Washington-based company.

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