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Microsoft could face legal battle over Xbox

Industry Standard

(IDG) -- Microsoft could face a legal challenge to its use of the Xbox name for its forthcoming videogame console. Microsoft filed its claim to the name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Oct. 18, 1999, but a Florida company registered its use of the Xbox mark with the USPTO on March 10, 1999.

"We are in the e-learning space, the software industry, and it's very confusing to have two companies in the same space with the same name," Xbox Technologies Chairman and CEO John van Leeuwen said in a telephone interview Monday.


Since filing its first claim to the name in October 1999, Microsoft has filed nine additional claims, the most recent on Sept. 19, 2000.

Meanwhile, Xbox Technologies and some of its subsidiaries have filed 45 claims to the name, 38 of them in May 2000. One of these filings relates to "Providing information in the fields of entertainment, hospitality, travel, music or movies or sports over global computer networks, global communication networks, wireless devices, telephone and desk-top computers," and 22 of them are for variations on the name, including "Xbox Technologies" and "Xbox E-solutions." INFOCENTER

The company trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol XBOXE.

"We have no interest in coexisting. It's confusing," Van Leeuwen said.

The two companies are in negotiation over the name, and an agreement could be reached within a few months. "There's some pressure to get it done from their end," he said.

"Microsoft is spending a lot of money promoting it and I think [the Xbox name] is as valuable to them as it is to us. If they want us to part with it, it's up to them to determine how much they think it's worth," Van Leeuwen said.

Microsoft did not immediately return calls to comment.

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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