NewsForge: Linux Mark Institute: Protecting the Linux Trademark
Apr 20, 2002, 03:00 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jon "maddog" Hall)
"Trademarks and Linux make a funny combination. Normally, a
trademark is meant to be kept private, and the company who owns the
trademark is expected to 'defend' the trademark's every use to
maintain ownership. Linus Torvalds is the owner of the trademark
'Linux' in several countries around the world, but instead of
keeping the usage for himself, he would like to see everyone using
the term 'Linux' for any legitimate need.
"If the world was perfect, all you would have to do is put the
term 'Linux' into the public domain just like the word 'brick.'
However, if the word 'Linux' was in the public domain, then Linus
could not prevent someone from using the term 'Linux' in what he
feels are negative ways.
"For example, there was a site started called linuxchix.org.
This was great, as it met a real need and made people happy.
Unfortunately, there was soon a site called linuxchix.com, which
advertised pornography. While some people might not complain about
this, Linus and I (and more importantly Tove, Linus' wife) felt
that applying the term 'Linux' to pornography was not the proper
thing to do. So an appropriate letter from our attorney, Mr. Gerry
Davis of Davis and Schroeder, to the offending party quickly got
the reference to pornography removed from the URL..."