With the official release of Office 97 in New York less than a week away, Microsoft has been hit by a trademark infringement lawsuit from 3M, makers of the ubiquitous sticky yellow Post-It notes.
In a suit filed in Minnesota Federal Court, 3M claims that Office 97 infringes its trademark by including a feature that allows users to create icons of yellow adhesive notes "very similar to those of 3M's Post-IT Software Notes sold under the Post-It mark".
3M is seeking to prevent Microsoft from including the feature in its software as well as seeking so-far unspecifided damages and compensation. A 3M spokeswoman said that the company had worked closely with Microsoft in the past and had shown it early versions of its own Post-It Software Notes. A Microsoft spokesman said the claim had no merit. "We don't have a product named Post-It; we don't have a feature called Post It; we don't use the phrase Post-it anywhere in our advertising or marketing,' he said. But the 3M suit alleges that users of Office 97 can access the notes feature by typing 'Post-It' or '3M Post-It'. The Microsoft spokesman said the only place the term 'Post-It' is used is in the Help function, but he added that there were other phrases that could be used to call up notes.
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