Microsoft is being targeted by a startup company going by the name ‘G.ho.st’ in an apparent claim that Microsoft is violating a company trademark. The violation in question has to do with use of phrases such as “no walls” in its US$300 million Windows marketing and advertising campaign.
G.ho.st CEO Zvi Schreiber sent a letter to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last Tuesday asking that Microsoft stop using the phrases “life without walls,” “imagine without walls” and “imagine no walls” on its products, website, marketing materials, advertising and other promotions. It was also requested in writing that they stop using the phrases by the close of business last Thursday. To no surprise, it never happened.
As of Monday, Microsoft was still using the phrases in its campaign. Michael Marinello, a Microsoft spokesman, said via e-mail that the company has acknowledged it had gotten the letter from Schreiber but, “the allegation is without merit.” Schreiber claims that G.ho.st has been using the phrase “no walls” to describe its G.ho.st Virtual Computer product, which is a hosted operating system that runs in a virtual environment. This product is described by Schreiber as being a “conceptual alternative to Windows.”
To add to Schreiber’s request to stop using the phrases, G.ho.st has also requested that Microsoft publish, “in the same media where these marks were displayed or advertised” clarification that it has not licensed G.ho.st’s technology or trademark. They also asked that Microsoft mention that they do not use the same “features or benefits of the G.ho.st Virtual Computer.”
If none of that was enough, they are also asking Microsoft to negotiate a “good faith” license for the past usage of what the company believes is its trademark. At the time of publication G.ho.st had not responded to any requests about whether it would be taking legal action against Microsoft to resolve the matter.
For the record – G.ho.st has not officially trademarked the phrase and has only filed an application to do so, on the same day that it had sent Microsoft the original letter – last Tuesday.