Officer! Microsoft Stole My Slogan!
After all the fuss over its Windows marketing campaign, Microsoft could now be forced to drop its new slogan — all because of a little-known company with an overpunctuated name.
G.ho.st, a company that’s developed a hosted operating system designed to serve as an alternative to Windows, has asked Microsoft to stop using all forms of its “no walls” catchphrase. G.ho.st — which, by the way, does not get easier to type the more you do it — says it’s been using the same phrase for its product since 2007. The company claims Microsoft is violating its trademark.
Microsoft has been pushing the “Life Without Walls” slogan hard since launching its recent campaign, starting with the Gates-Seinfeld ads and progressing to the everyman spots airing now. Could a tiny Israeli startup have the power to shut it down?
The answer, unfortunately, is probably not. Other factors aside, G.ho.st hadn’t actually tried to trademark the phrase until last Tuesday — the same day it sent its notice of violation to Microsoft. Minor oversight there, my period-happy pals.
It’s a shame, too. It would have been amusing to see the company’s demands — which included Microsoft not only dropping all instances of the phrase from its products, but also giving G.ho.st free mentions in all those places and negotiating a “good faith” license to pay off its past use — come to fruition. It doesn’t seem, though, that G.ho.st’s belief that Microsoft took on the phrase to “scare off potential investors in G.ho.st” and to keep G.ho.st’s product from getting “a fair chance in the market place” will be taken too seriously.
Maybe if G.ho.st would have p.ut some mo.r.e punc.tua.tion in its docum.en.ts, they would have made more of a diff.ere.nce. Right now, though, Microsoft’s walls — or lack thereof — don’t look like they’ll be coming down any time soon.