[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Linux mark extortion

On Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 01:04:35AM -0700, Michael K. Edwards wrote:
> That isn't necessarily "broken" when it comes to, not identical, but
> related products.  There's no particular reason why, if no one sells
> locomotives under the mark "Stanley Steamer" anymore, someone else
> shouldn't be able to assert rights to that mark (Stanley Steemer,
> actually) for carpet cleaning services delivered via the successor to
> locomotives (the automobile) and steam engines.  And I can certainly
> imagine someone successfully claiming rights to a ZipperRipper
> trademark on sewing scissors.  If Linux becomes a generic term, why
> not MoreFreeThanLinux for a FooSoft fork of FreeBSD?  (No, I do _not_
> think this is either accurate or a good idea.  :-)

Well, I don't see a real danger to Linux if somebody starts selling
Linuxmobiles.  :)  Somebody might trademark that, but to my (weak)
understanding of copyrights, that wouldn't affect the existing generic
use of "Linux" in the context of operating systems.

(My understanding of trademarks is fairly weak, since they've only
recently begun having a serious impact on free software and havn't
been discussed very much here, so I welcome any corrections if I
have severe misconceptions about the nature of trademark law.)

> It truly boggles my mind that people who presumably plan to make their
> living using their brains, and presumably don't want to hide their
> work under a trade-secret bushel basket in the process, can be so
> hostile to the centuries-old legal mechanisms whereby their brains'
> output can benefit both the public's access to knowledge and their
> families' economic well-being.  We can't all have student lifestyles
> and free rides from the MacArthur Foundation, and we don't all want to
> be reduced to running protection rackets out of our
> government-subsidized university chairs.  Unthinking hostility to
> legitimate uses of copyright, patent, and trademark plays right into
> the hands of the people who abuse them via FUD, regulatory capture,
> and lobbyists.

I don't consider this particularly worthy of a response; I'm not even
in school.  You're failing badly at explaining how suddenly restricting
the use of the word "Linux" is in any way beneficial to Free Software.

Glenn Maynard

Reply to: