Microsoft has been beaten to the line over registering its Xbox trademark, which means it will either have to consider changing the name of its games console or delay releasing it.
Florida-based Xbox Technologies, which sells software for machinery in the die cast moulding industry, has said it is prepared to go to court over its trademark dispute with the software giant, claiming that it registered the Xbox name in March 1999. Microsoft, on the other hand, did not file to register the name until October 1999.
But Microsoft still has the option to settle out of court and could attempt to buy the name from the company, especially as it has already spent $500m on marketing the Xbox brand. If it releases the console under its original name so as not to miss the intended launch date, Xbox Technologies could hit back with a court injunction to prevent the sale of the machine.
But there has been speculation that Sony could also make an offer on the trademark, as Microsoft's Xbox is a direct rival to its PlayStation 2 console.
Xbox Technologies currently has 47 other related trademark applications pending approval from the US Patent Office.
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