Microsoft logo on a Microsoft store window

Northampton innovator wins battle against Microsoft in trademark dispute

By James Wan

What you need to know (in a nutshell)

  1. The inventor of a device to help child literacy, Kate McKenzie, resolved a dispute with Microsoft over the name of her device by dropping an “s” from the name.
  2. The device, originally called Word Windows, will now be known as Word Window.
  3. McKenzie will launch the invention at Northamptonshire Central Library in Northampton, and she is excited to start helping parents and children with the device.

Full Article

In Duston, Northampton, Kate McKenzie has announced the launch of her child literacy aid device, Word Window, following resolving a dispute with technology behemoth Microsoft over the name. Previously called Word Windows, the change was necessary for her trademark application to be approved and to facilitate the product launch. With the issue resolved after considerable time and effort in negotiations, Ms McKenzie is eager to make headway towards her initial goal: launching the product and creating an effective, enjoyable tool for children to enhance their reading skills.

Mrs McKenzie has developed an inventive tool that encases words in a box and opens windows to isolate individual syllables, enabling parents, teachers, or students to concentrate on the parts of the word they find challenging while reading. Mrs McKenzie drew inspiration from her personal battle with dyslexia at school and her son’s difficulties in learning to read correctly. However, just nine days before the product was sold, Microsoft’s lawyers sent a letter threatening legal action over copyright infringement issues.

Mrs McKenzie has announced that the confusion around her product has been resolved, and the packaging and websites have been adjusted to display the new name. She emphasised that the change has not affected the quality or effectiveness of the product. Mrs McKenzie will debut her invention at the Northamptonshire Central Library on Saturday. However, due to a symptom of dyslexia that can cause stuttering when speaking publicly, she is understandably apprehensive about presenting it to an audience for the first time.

Microsoft declined to comment on the matter when approached by the BBC, citing the ongoing legal issue as the reason.