The trademark dispute jury trial between Lindows and Microsoft has been delayed until March 1 next year.
This means documents relating to Apple's 1992 copyright infringement case that have until now been kept under lock-and-key by Microsoft will not appear in the public domain until next year.
Lindows sells operating system software, the LindowsOS, and a productivity suite, Lindows Office, that competes with Microsoft products. The company argues that "windows" is a generic term and that Microsoft was granted its trademark under questionable circumstances.
To support its trademark claim, the US District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle has ordered Microsoft to produce evidence supporting its claims, including documents from Apple's 1992 case against it.
Apple sued Microsoft for copyright infringement in 1992, claiming that the Windows graphical user interface mirrored the look and feel of its Macintosh desktop. Apple lost the suit.
The boxes the court has ordered Microsoft to produce are expected to contain testimony from dozens of witnesses, court transcripts and evidence that "windowing systems" were developed in the 1970s and 1980s before both Microsoft and Apple developed their own, Lindows lead counsel Daniel Harris said in a statement.
Microsoft is now suing Lindows in a case filed in December 2001, accusing the company of infringing its "Windows" trademark and asking the court to bar Lindows from further using the Lindows name.
The court originally set a trial date in April, but moved that to December to give Lindows more time to prepare for the case. The trial has now been pushed back until March 1 because of a scheduling conflict, Lindows said in a statement.
A court document issued on Monday confirms the scheduling change. Parties have to file trial briefs, proposed jury instructions and other documents by February 25, 2004.
Microsoft has already lost two requests for an injunction barring Lindows from using the Lindows name. The matter is now for a jury to decide.