Trademark Dispute May Delay Xbox Debut

Microsoft may be forced to delay the introduction of its Xbox game console because of a trademark dispute over the Xbox brand with a small Florida company, according to published reports.

Xbox Technologies, a holding company of software businesses, may take Microsoft to court because it said it had the first claim on the Xbox brand, the Financial Times reported on its FT.com Web site.

Xbox Technologies, based in Coconut Grove, Fla., filed the first of 47 current applications for the Xbox brand with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in March 1999, FT.com said.

Microsoft filed its first application for the Xbox brand seven months later, FT.com reported. The company refused Xbox Technologies' offer to buy out its claim on the brand name, John Van Leeuwen, an executive of Xbox Technologies, told FT.com.

Van Leeuwen wouldn't say if Xbox Technologies would sell the brand name.

While Microsoft may release its game console without resolving the dispute, that may leave the company open to legal action by Xbox technologies, FT.com reported.

Microsoft, which hired 150 developers to produce games for Xbox, refused to comment on ongoing talks with Xbox Technologies, FT.com said. The Redmond, Wash.-based company will spend $500 million to introduce Xbox, its first major hardware product that will compete with Sony Corp.'s PlayStation2, FT.com said.

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