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Old 08-20-2005, 11:07 PM   #1
rvijay
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Linus trademarks Linux


Linus trademarks Linux

Companies to be charged for free software

By Nick Farrell: Friday 19 August 2005, 08:44
MORE THAN 90 Australian companies have been asked to pay a licence fee for Linux software in a move apparently backed by the software’s eminence grise, Linus Torvalds.

Letters demanding US$5000 for use of the Linux name were originally dismissed as a hoax. But according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Open Sauce king is dead serious.

Jon 'Maddog' Hall, the executive director of Linux International in the US, said that a community organisation called Linux Australia had been nominated to handle the trademark issue and had sent out the letters.

In the US, the Linux Mark Institute (LMI) will handle trademark issues in the US and nominate local bodies to look after trademark things in other countries.

According to Hall, the move is not to get a slice of any one’s action, nor was not about trying limit the use of the name Linux, but only to protect the quality of products that go out under that brand.

When asked whether or not they were being hypocritical about software patents while at the same time bringing in trademarks, Hall said that there was nothing to stop a company using Linux software without using the Linux name. If Linux patented Linux that would certainly happen. µ

L'INQ
Sydney Morning Herald

http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=25529
 
Old 08-21-2005, 01:51 PM   #2
SlackerLX
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I think if it is all true! But what if it is? Wonder what Jeremy thinks about it?
 
Old 08-21-2005, 02:40 PM   #3
Matir
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Read this thread to actually UNDERSTAND the article: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...01#post1811801

As usual, the inquirer is a worthless piece of trash reporting.
 
Old 08-21-2005, 03:18 PM   #4
SlackerLX
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I think here he explains all!

From: Linus Torvalds (torvalds@transmeta.com)
Date: Tue Jan 18 2000 - 23:28:45 EST
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[ sorry for the off-topic thing to "linux-kernel", it's just the best
medium I can think off off-hand ]

Ok,
I've been getting tons of email about the trademark thing due to the
action of stopping the auctioning off of linux-related names, so instead
of just answering individually (which was how I started out), I'll just
send out a more generic email. And hope that slashdot etc pick it up so
that enough people will be reassured or at least understand the issues.

And hey, you may not end up agreeing with me, but with the transmeta
announcement tomorrow I won't have much time to argue about it until next
week

Basically, the rules are fairly simple, and there really are just a few
simple basic issues involved:

- I (and obviously a lot of other people) do not want to have "Linux" as
a name associated with unacceptable (or borderline) behaviour, and it's
important that "Linux" doesn't get a name of being associated with
scams, cybersquatting, etc etc. I'd personally hate that, for rather
obvious reasons. I _like_ being proud of Linux, and what has been
achieved. I'd rather not have to apologize for it..

- Trademark law requires that the trademark owner police the use of the
trademark (unlike, for example, copyright law, where the copyright
owner is the copyright owner, always is, and always will be unless he
willingly relinquishes ownership, and even THEN he ends up having
rights).

This is nasty, because it means, for example, that a trademark owner
has to be shown as caring about even small infringements, because
otherwise the really bad guys can use as their defense that "hey, we
may have misused it, but look at those other cases that they didn't go
after, they obviously don't care.."

- Even with things that aren't scams or something like that, VALID uses
of "Linux" may be bad if they mean that other valid uses of "Linux" are
blocked.

Those are the kind of ground rules, I think everybody can pretty much
agree with them..

What the above leads to is

- I'm required to ask people to acknowledge the trademark. When you use
the term "Linux" in official marketing literature etc, you should
acknowledge it as a trademark owned by me. Not because I love seeing my
name in print, but simply because of the "policing" issue (#2) above.

(And no, that does NOT mean that you have to add that to normal,
everyday use of the term. Common sense rules the day, think of the
situations where you see the silly "xxxx is a trademark of yyyy", and
realize that yyyy may not really care except the legal issues force
them to

- _Intent_ matters. It matters a lot.

If your intent is to use the word "linux" as part of a real Linux
project, that doesn't mean that you automatically absolutely have to
get permission from me. That's the LAST thing I want. I want "Linux" to
be as free as possible as a term, and the real reason for having a
trademark in the first place was to _protect_ it rather than use it as
some kind of legalistic enforcement thing.

But, for example, if your intent is to register "mylinux.com" (made up
example, I don't know if it is registered or not) only in the hopes of
selling the domain name for mucho dinero later, then that kind of
intent is not something I (or anybody else, I think) would find really
acceptable, because now the use of "linux" in this case has really been
a question of blocking somebody ELSE from using the term and using it
to get money.

This is where the cybersquatting laws come in, for example, allowing
the use of a trademark as a way to make sure that such squatting
activity does NOT happen.

- Being "specific" is _good_. Being specific largely avoids the problem
of many people/organizations wanting the same name. We had an example
long ago of somebody who would have wanted to register "Linux Expert"
as a servicemark, yet obviously that is a pretty generic term. Not
good, if it means that there will be confusion about who owns the term.

In contrast (to give some tangible examples), something like "VA Linux"
or "Red Hat Linux" oviously isn't a generic term: it's a very
_targeted_ term for something very specific. Those kinds of names do
not detract from other peoples ability to call _their_ Linux company
something else.

- Finally, you have to judge the "officialdom" and the importance of
the business side of your usage. Not because I or anybody else
really cares all that much, but more because of the "pain factor" if
the name is asked for by somebody else.

Basically, ask yourself the question: "What if somebody else had a
project, and happened to chose the same name for his project as I have
for mine, how strong a protection do I want for MY version of the
project?"

Also, ask yourself: "Would anybody ever have reason to question the
name, and do I need to make provisions for protecting this particular
instance of it" (and note that "anybody" may not be me as the trademark
owner myself, but it may be a competitor who wants to make life
uncomfortable for you)

If you decide that you want some official protection from the mark,
that probably means that you want to own your own version of the
trademark, ie a "service mark" or a "combination mark". There are
obvious cases where such a thing is wanted - you should not be
surprised to hear that various Linux companies own their own
combination marks, or have at the very least gotten that ownership
verbally approved by me pending getting the paperwork done.

So basically, in case the trademark issue comes up, you should make your
own judgement. If you read and understood the above, you know pretty much
what my motivation is - I hate the paperwork, and I think all of this is
frankly a waste of my time, but I need to do it so that in the future I
don't end up being in a position I like even less.

And I'm _not_ out to screw anybody. In order to cover the costs of
paperwork and the costs of just _tracking_ the trademark issues (and to
really make it a legally binding contract in the first place), if you end
up going the whole nine yards and think you need your own trademark
protection, there is a rather nominal fee(*) associated with combination
mark paperwork etc. That money actually goes to the Linux International
trademark fund, so it's not me scalping people if anybody really thought
that that might be the case

I hope people understand what happened, and why it happened, and why it
really hasn't changed anything that we had to assert the trademark issue
publically for the first time this week. And I hope people feel more
comfortable about it.

And finally - I hope that people who decide due to this that what they
really want is trademark protection for their own Linux trademark, that
they could just wait a week or two, or contact maddog at Linux
International rather than me. We're finally getting the shroud of secrecy
lifted from transmeta (hey, we'll have a real web-site and zdtv is
supposed to webcast the announcement tomorrow), and I'd rather worry about
trademarks _next_ week.

Ok?

Linus
 
Old 08-21-2005, 10:54 PM   #5
xanas3712
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Yeah I read the Linus email elsewhere on this subject, and it pretty much makes sense to me. I've felt well before this even "came up" (as if it's really new?) that trademarks are fine. There are many reasons that trademarks are necessary that simply don't apply to copyright laws in general.

I'm sure there will still be some convinced that we're all hypocrites or something, but I don't think any that matter will care.
 
Old 08-22-2005, 11:15 AM   #6
sundialsvcs
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What Linus is talking about is absolutely correct.

In legal terms it is the "Doctrine of Laches," where laches is, I believe, a Latin term that literally means "to wait" or "to delay." And it means, as Linus said, that a copyright owner is required to exercise constant due-dilligence with respect to any trademark, and to be able to show the court that they did so should the need arise, and that they were impartial.

See, e.g.: http://sheilalr.tripod.com/index-3.html

This is why, as I first heard about it, if someone puts a picture of Snoopy on the side of their day-care center without permission, a lawyer from United Features is going to insist that they take it off. It's not that they have any beef against day-care centers... it's that, if five years later Mister Nasty puts a picture of Snoopy on the side of his porn-shop, he could assert the claim that "well, if they let a day-care center do it, and didn't stop them, then it must be of no value." ("If it was really a million-dollar racehorse, he would not have put it in a barn with no fences. Ergo, since he did, it must not really be a million dollar horse.") The trademark owner is not permitted to be selective.

Obviously, it's a law written by lawyers to support lawyers ... but it is the law, none the less. And I think that Linus has explained it very reasonably.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 08-22-2005 at 11:17 AM.
 
Old 08-22-2005, 11:17 AM   #7
Matir
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Quote:
Originally posted by sundialsvcs
What Linus is talking about is absolutely correct.

In legal terms it is the "Doctrine of Laches," where laches is, I believe, a Latin term that literally means "to wait" or "to delay." And it means, as Linus said, that a copyright owner is required to exercise constant due-dilligence with respect to any trademark, and to be able to show the court that they did so should the need arise, and that they were impartial.

See: http://sheilalr.tripod.com/index-3.html,

This is why, as I first heard about it, if someone puts a picture of Snoopy on the side of their day-care center without permission, a lawyer from United Features is going to insist that they take it off. It's not that they have any beef against day-care centers... it's that, if five years later Mister Nasty puts a picture of Snoopy on the side of his porn-shop, he could assert the claim that "well, if they let a day-care center do it, and didn't stop them, then it must be of no value." ("If it was really a million-dollar racehorse, he would not have put it in a barn with no fences. Ergo, since he did, it must not really be a million dollar horse.") The trademark owner is not permitted to be selective.

Obviously, it's a law written by lawyers to support lawyers ... but it is the law, none the less. And I think that Linus has explained it very reasonably.
Of course, United Features could just charge day-care centers $1 for a lifetime license to snoopy, and they'd be good to go. But your point is well-taken and appreciated.
 
Old 08-22-2005, 12:56 PM   #8
ubuntu2
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Tres-duh press is wrong: No charge for using Linux
http://os.newsforge.com/os/05/08/19/...?tid=2&tid=138
 
Old 08-22-2005, 01:04 PM   #9
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I wonder is this will stop Richard Stallman from bugging people on the Linux Kernel mailing list........
instead of getting gnu-hurd off the drawing board.......he has made a pest of himself by trying to hog all the credit for .........Linux!!
 
Old 08-22-2005, 08:22 PM   #10
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http://www.theage.com.au/news/breaki...958221375.html

a much better article from a not so techy viewpoint.

titanium_geek
 
Old 08-24-2005, 10:06 AM   #11
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I'm all for Linus going after those using Linux in their name which the name Linux is trademarked, if he doesn't protect it, he can lose it and that would be bad news.
 
Old 08-24-2005, 02:47 PM   #12
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Not that linus makes megabucks from linux or the name linux, but it stops any evil people taking advantage of the name linux.

I'm behind Linus. And, it's just people who use the name in relation to the field of software (why Apple Computers and Apple Music can both have trademarked names) for their business, so if I had titanium's linux distro, I would have to pay. If I use linux, I don't have to pay. If I call it titaniux then thats ok too, I don't have to pay. So, I'm guessing lq doesn't have to pay, because they don't have a released piece of software under that name.

titanium_geek
 
Old 09-05-2005, 01:53 AM   #13
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the INQUIRER sucks!!!!
 
Old 09-05-2005, 04:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by trickykid
I'm all for Linus going after those using Linux in their name which the name Linux is trademarked, if he doesn't protect it, he can lose it and that would be bad news.
Exactly. Or it get's abused or used for things that linux doesn't want to be a part of.
 
  


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