A judge has refused to bow to a request from US technology giant Sun Microsystems to impose an injunction on Lai Sun Hotels for using the 'sun' in its new name. 'I state the obvious when I say 'sun' is not a made up word but is in general use in English and Chinese,' Deputy Judge David Gill ruled yesterday, citing more than four million Web sites which share the 'sun' name. Lai Sun is seeking to change its name to eSun.com Holdings to reflect a shift from hotel ownership and operation to an Internet and media-related business. It also launched a Web site, www.eSun.com . Sun Microsystems was in uproar. It filed a writ on March 20 claiming the proposed new name and Web site - along with Lai Sun's overall change in direction to information technology - would cause widespread belief that the enterprise was connected with the US giant. Moreover, it claimed its hard-won reputation would be at risk. The company asked the court to urgently restrain Lai Sun from making the changes. On March 24, Lai Sun undertook not to change its name pending the outcome of yesterday's hearing. However, Deputy Judge Gill gave it the green light to use the new name and ordered Sun Microsystems to pay Lai Sun's legal costs. 'Though its proposed name and Web site name are very similar to Sun Microsystems' own foreshortened name and Web site, it was not, as I find, a deliberate act designed to confuse its customers or potential customers into the belief that it is somehow connected with Sun Microsystems,' the judge ruled. Lai Sun had argued that the action was tantamount to Microsystems seeking a monopoly of the word 'sun', which is incorporated in the names of thousands of Hong Kong companies. Although Sun Microsystems called itself 'Sun' and had certain trademark protection, it shared the name with more than 8,000 registered companies in Hong Kong alone. There were also more than four million Web sites in which 'sun' was part of the name. Moreover, the business operations of the two companies would be distinct. Lai Sun bought a 50-per-cent stake in HKATV.com as a vehicle for exploiting programme rights through its Web site and the Internet as part of the process in changing its image and business direction. The judge continued: 'I conclude that a prospective future customer of Lai Sun's proposed activity in media and entertainment operating under its intended name is most unlikely to be under the misapprehension he is enjoying the benefit of a Sun Microsystems production.' The US company - which had US$11 billion income last year - did not have such a blanket reputation to deem it a household name, the judge said. Although ruling that there was no serious question to be tried, Sun Microsystems could still take the case to trial. Sun Microsystems also recently launched legal action against Sunevision Holdings and a subsidiary, claiming the names and logos are tantamount to infringement of its trademark.