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Microsoft suddenly renames Windows 8 Metro interface, prompting trademark infringement speculation

Microsoft has announced that it is renaming the Metro interface for its forthcoming Windows 8 and Windows RT platforms, with reports suggesting the move may have been prompted by Microsoft becoming aware “Metro” was already a registered trademark.

Initial reports about Microsoft's sudden decision to rename the Windows 8 and Windows RT interface were due to the company becoming aware of a possible trademark infringement, suggesting the term may have already been in use in the ICT sector.

In response, a Microsoft spokesperson claimed the move was not due to any current litigation, stating:

“We have used Metro style as a code name during the product development cycle across many of our product lines. As we get closer to launch and transition from industry dialog to a broad consumer dialog we will use our commercial names.”

After Microsoft's initial denial, an internal Microsoft memo was leaked to The Verge.

According to The Verge, the memo orders staff to refer to the new Windows 8 and Windows RT interface as the “Windows 8 style UI” due to unspecified "discussions with an important European partner" that have led it to "discontinue the use" of the Metro brand.

The memo also states the company is "working on a replacement term and plans to land on that by the end of this week".

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Andrew Sadauskas

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