November 11th 2004
By Mike Flaminio
From the 'How Did Legal Let This Happen?' Department comes a ZDNet story on Microsoft's tortoise-like efforts to get one of its flagship Office products, Microsoft Excel, registered as a trademark.
As Mac veterans know only too well, the GUI on Excel was pioneered on Mac w-a-y back in '85. But it took until this year to register it. Meanwhile, products like TurboExcel and others have included the word 'excel' in their software titles.
You'll be pleased to know MS has not trademarked 'Word' or 'Office' either, although 'Windows' is indeed a TM. The cases of Word and Office may be because they're already covered by 'common trademark law', which means we all know what they mean when someone mentions them.
Then again, we have WordPerfect Office and ClarisWorks Office.
TurboExcel, on the other hand, runs on Linux and was introduced only in June this year. Its proprietors believe Redmond is simply trying to 'get at them' as part of its wider anti-Linux push.
You'll be pleased to know that Mac®, Apple®, LaserWriter®, iPod® and various others are all trademarked by Apple. Well, actually, Apple is trademarked by Apple Corps. and Apple Computer Inc (in litigation).
A quick glance at MS's trademark list shows that, oddly, Microsoft Money isn't among them. Then again, they already own all that.