Microsoft introduced its Excel spreadsheet program in 1985, but didn't get around to officially registering its trademark until earlier this year.
The company filed a trademark application for Excel in April, even though the name is already protected by something called common law trademark, said Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake. The company wants to make it official with the United States Patent and Trademark Office because "it doesn't hurt to take it one step further," Drake said.
It may also have something to do with the fact that dozens of software products now feature "Excel" in their names. TurboExcel, developed by a New York company called Savvysoft, is one of them. Microsoft recently sent a letter to the company, demanding it change the product's name. The software giant has approached a number of others about Excel trademark infringements as well, Drake said. She declined to name them.
News source: C|Net News.com