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CNET News.com: Ssh! Don't use that trademark; 'SSH' now a generic term, via wide usage

Feb 26, 2001, 14:43 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robert Lemos)

"For security-conscious system administrators, three letters have become a household word when it comes to securing remote computers: SSH. ... Yet the three letters also describe the original program developed by Tatu Ylonen in 1995 and trademarked in March 1998. Now, as the founder of SSH Communications Security, Ylonen wants others to stop using it."

"Helsinki, Finland-based SSH Communications maintains two versions of its SSH Secure Shell product, one it sells and one it gives away free. But neither carries the GNU public license, which would make them open source. The largest open-source project--and Enemy No. 1 for SSH Communications in the trademark battle--is OpenSSH, an effort to create a free open-source version of the product."

"Regardless of its origins, the word has become the generic description for this type of software," said Michael Bednarek, an intellectual property attorney at Washington, D.C.-based law firm Shaw Pittman. "As far as I can tell, there is no other name for it." Bednarek asserts that SSH Communications inadvertently let the name slip into the public domain, similar to how Bayer lost the trademark to "aspirin" in the United States."

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