Microsoft faces legal challenge to Xbox brand

Microsoft faces legal challenge to Xbox brand

Microsoft could face a legal challenge to its use of the Xbox name for its forthcoming video game console. Microsoft filed its claim to the name with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on October 1999, but a Florida company registered its use of the Xbox mark with the USPTO on March 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 chief executive officer John van Leeuwen said in a telephone interview Monday.

Since filing its first claim to the name in October 1999, Microsoft has filed a further 9 claims, the most recent in September 2000.

Meanwhile Xbox Technologies and its various subsidiaries have filed a further 45 claims to the name, 38 of them in May of last year. 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 desktop computers," and 22 of them are for variations on the name, including "Xbox Technologies" and "Xbox E-solutions."

The company trades on 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 it (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," said Van Leeuwen.

Microsoft did not immediately return calls for comment.

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