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Microsoft doesn't own Excel, it appears

Legal cock-up
Tue Nov 23 2004, 07:37
THE BEHEMOTHIC software company called Microsoft has lawyers who appear to have just made a huge cock-up when they came to sue a software outfit for using the word 'excel'.

It turns out that someone forgot to trademark the name and Microsoft didn't own it either. Apparently the legal eagles sent around a cease and desist letter to Savvysoft, which makes Excel portable to Linux under the name TurboExcel.

Savvysoft founder Rich Tanenbaum said Vole offered to make his company one of its partners while at the same time threatening it with trademark lawsuits.

He told NewsFactor that in the process of defending itself, his briefs found out that Microsoft does not own the "Excel" name.

According to the United States Trademark and Patent Web site, Microsoft has been using "Excel" since 1985. But it only applied for the trademark on April 12th of this year. They also might not actually get the trademark as there is already an Excel Software which went into business just before the Vole's spreadsheet hit the shops.

Excel Software told NewsFactor hacks that it received a cease-and-desist letter about 15 years ago. But it replied by informing Microsoft it had the name first, and it has never heard from the lair of the Vole since. µ

* INQblot Where's gifted Microsoft programmer Gary Levell when you need him?


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