Microsoft: “Metro” out, “Windows 8-style UI” in, amid rumors of a trademark dispute →

Peter Bright:

Microsoft has been using the “Metro” name to describe the new geometric, typography-heavy look-and-feel that is central to Windows 8 [and] Windows Phone. But sources are telling us that this is coming to an abrupt end after the company’s Legal and Corporate Affairs team sent out a memo banning the word “Metro.” LCA’s memo reportedly says that Microsoft has been threatened with legal action for infringing on “Metro” trademarks held by German retailer Metro AG.

Thought exercise. If Apple had been threatened with legal action over calling their UI design language of a few years ago “Aqua,” would they have:

  • Immediately switched to calling it “Mac OS X-style UI” and claimed Aqua was just a code name anyway?
  • Parachuted in a team of trademark lawyers and declared they would fight this with everything they had, up to and including devastating blasts from Scott Forstall’s laser eyes?

I’m not saying I love Apple’s approach to these kind of disputes. But this is folding like a stack of cards, and then declaring that you actually folded like a stack of something else foldable, just in case “cards” are trademarked.

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