A federal court in Seattle has ordered Microsoft Corp. to release thousands of documents to San Diego-based Lindows.com, as the Redmond company presses its claims that Lindows' name infringes on Microsoft's Windows trademark.
In addition, the court postponed the start of the trial from April 7 to Dec. 1.
The order, issued last week, requires Microsoft to release documents including testimony and transcripts from an unsuccessful lawsuit filed by Apple Computer in 1988 against Microsoft alleging copyright violations for using icons, windows and other graphical elements in its operating system.
Some of the documents covered by the order were not previously made public.
Lindows sells an operating system for computers based on Linux that can run many programs designed for Windows. Microsoft filed suit in December 2001 against Lindows, saying the company's name and Lindows OS product violated Microsoft's trademark for Windows.
"We're hopeful the documents will add to the mountain of evidence that demonstrates the term 'windows' is generic and not the exclusive property of any one company," said Michael Robertson, chief executive of Lindows.com, in a statement Monday.
But Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler called the order routine. "The evidence in this case is clear and compelling and supports our position that this is trademark infringement," Desler said.