Microsoft, that is, which recently filed suit against an anonymous computer hacker who wrote a program for cracking the software protection built into the company’s media player and then posted the program on a Web site, according to Reuters.

Microsoft charges that the alleged villain, who goes by the nom de plume “Viodentia,” illegally used the company’s proprietary source code to create a program called FairUse4WM. In the past, Microsoft has released patches designed to stop Viodentia’s program. However, almost as soon as Microsoft released a patch, Viodentia would update the FairUse4WM program to overcome the company’s software fixes.

Although his secret identity has yet to be uncovered, someone claiming to be Viodentia posted a message on a Web site claiming that FairUse4WM does not use Microsoft source code. The same person said in an online interview with Engadget that the lawsuit was a “fishing expedition to get identity information” in an attempt to launch more lawsuits.

The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Pods & Sods

We all know the iPod is an Apple Computer product. In fact, the world’s most popular music player is a textbook example of great marketing. The name “iPod” is almost synonymous when it comes to digital players. Car stereos are marketed as “iPod ready” and there are probably more aftermarket devices manufactured for the iPod than for any other personal player. When people think digital music, most likely they think “iPod.” And when they think “iPod,” they think “Apple.”

But while Apple owns the brand name, does the company also own knock-offs of the name?

Apparently Apple thinks so. According to the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail, the company recently demanded that Podcast Ready, which develops software for delivering podcasts directly to players, stop using the word “pod” in the company’s name and products.

A podcast is a pre-recorded program that can be downloaded and placed on portable players. While most podcasts come in the form of MP3 files and can be played on virtually all personal players, it is the iPod’s popularity that resulted in the programs being dubbed as “podcasts.”

According to the Daily Mail, Apple has registration and trademark applications pending worldwide for both “iPod” and “pod,” and claims that the latter is merely an abbreviation for “iPod.”

Meanwhile, Podcast Ready founder Russell Holliman says his company will fight Apple for the right to keep the “Pod” in Podcast.

“We’ve built a lot of value in the term Podcast Ready,” Holliman said. “To the extent that if we can we’re going to try and stay the course and continue what we’re doing.”