back to article Firm moves to trademark 'Python' name out from under the language

A trademark battle has erupted following a company’s bid to stake a Europe-wide claim to the name "Python" - that of many devs’ favourite scripting language. The Python Software Foundation has said it’s wrestling UK-based web host Veber for its own name after the company informed the software people it was applying for Community …

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WTF?

François Marie Daudin called from 1803* where he came up with the genus name.

How can anyone take a trademark on such a common word? *cough*Windows*cough*Apple*cough*

* (a) Yes, I did have to look his name up; (b) and I know the telephone wasn't invented

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft's trademark on Windows is a fantasy. They pay people off so they never need to take it to court.

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Childcatcher

Re: Of course there is always

Bloody Apple !!!

Happy Friday !

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Devil

To answer your question...

Before Apple, or Windows, there was no hardware company using the name Apple. Same for Windows, or how about Acorn? (What every happened to them?) Common words.

IMHO the guy fighting to trademark Python is going to have a hard time on his hands.

Python is a computer language and has been in the public eye for quite some time.

Python is also slang for biceps.

And Python is a snake.

Could Verber be looking to brand a computer, service or class of service as Python?

I really don't know.

To your point, you can trademark a common word like Python, however in the US, it would only stop competitors in using the term. A company in a completely different line of business who didn't trademark the name could still use it... (Apple Records vs Apple Computer)

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Anonymous Coward

@ Ian Yates

Windows trademark was going to be reexamined in the US when Microsoft sued Lindows; but out of fear that they might lose that trademark, Microsoft bought the Lindows name for US$ 20mil! http://www.pcworld.com/article/116947/article.html

Anyway, trademark is only protected in a certain market and/or industry; once you leave that market the trademark can be used by others. So Apple trademark in the computer world is not the same as Apple trademark in the music world. The trademark is there to protect the name that you worked hard to establish from being used by others.

Although, Microsoft's Windows trademark could easily be challenged because before they introduced Windows and trademarked it; the term 'windows' was already in use in the computer world and there were products that used that term in their names (ie. 'X Windows'). But unless someone is willing to sue Microsoft over the name, they will continue to hold the trademark.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Of course there is always

Apple (the litigious iThingy company) had a fight with Apple (the Beatles music company founded in 1968) to use the Apple name for computer hardware. Part of the settlement was that iApple stayed out of the music business. We all know how that one worked out.

It is possible for two companies in different business realms to have the same trademark but since veber and PSF are both in the computing industry there will be a clash.

Now if you start using colt pythons to kill bugs there might be problems ....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Of course there is always

Erm your hatred for which Apple?

The first "Apple" was the record label and they actually sued Apple computer who agreed not to go into the music business. Obviously that case was reopened when iTunes appeared.

So you are barking up the wrong tree there.

There are so many names which weren't invented for the company, even McDonalds which is a surname with s on the end of it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To answer your question...

There was a company using the term Apple before Apple computers appeared.

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Re: Of course there is always

Funnily enough, Apple - the Beatles one were in the electronics business way before Apple the computer company.

Google 'Magic Alex' sometime...

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Trollface

The telephone was invented. Just... after 1803.

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Pint

And rightly so, for any graphical interface, and even non-graphical interfaces make use of the concept of Windows to represent objects. Ncurses for instance uses it, and it can run on a raw tty.

I remember no so long ago, Microsoft had to pay off Lindows, who at the time was contesting the name, for fear it might lose the trademark. Not only is it extremely generic, but it also applies to pretty much any desktop/GUI.

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Re: To answer your question...

Didn't Acorn eventually mutate into ARM?

Not exactly Apple, but certainly a better result than most of the home computer start-ups from the late 70's/early 80's... Really must dig out that Atom and try to repair it some day!

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Anonymous Coward

Dumb ways to die?

It seems to me that companies that pull this should really be featured in the "Dumb ways to die" video. This is right up there with

* poking a polar bear with a short stick

* looking down the barrel to see what caused a hang-fire

* getting oral sex from a cobra (I had to work a snake thing in there somewhere!)

Exactly how did the company think this was going to work out well?

"Hello. My name is Guido, and I wants ta' has a word with youse about dis trademark thing. It is very disrespectful of our organization - but we are willing to allow youse to make 'amends'...."

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Silver badge

Re: Dumb ways to die?

You missed:

* getting crushed and suffocated by an angry mob of Python developers.

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Pirate

Re: Dumb ways to die?

... not to mention the Spanish Inquisition...

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Joke

Re: Dumb ways to die?

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uprjmoSMJ-o

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dumb ways to die?

Chances are, you won't need that many Python developers either (who, it has to be said, tend to be on the heavy side).

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Stop

Of all the sheer bloody minded arrogance...

"after the company informed the software people it was applying for Community Trademark on the name “Python”."

Is there some legal reason they needed to do that before the trademark was approved? If not then it smells like a (bizarre) publicity stunt to me.

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Holmes

Ah wait, all these sites all over the world are now linking to both Veber and their python.co.uk site.

Could this possibly be some convoluted SEO manipulation?

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Silver badge

yes assuming they want to be ranked #1 for phrases such as "moronic c***s" :) You are right though, this smells like the kind of stupidity that can only be created when the marketing team responds to an SEO spam email. Hey we can get you ranked #1 on google, it will only cost you your reputation and a lawsuit.

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FAIL

OK, you know that if this trademark is granted to Veber, none of you Europeans will ever be able to joke about the USPTO again, right?

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Mushroom

Damn, you are right! There is even more at stake here than I realised!

Europe, rally, rally, rally!

(Oh for an edit button for all users)

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Anonymous Coward

Nah, this is trademark law and trademarks are pretty retarded the world over, the US's Patent system will still be the most retarded Patent system in the universe, and way more dangerous then "well guess will change the name of our Language to FuckVeber"

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Could be worse

At first I was afraid that some snot-nose was trying to capture Montgomery Python's works, although I believe that would have all of England up in arms.

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Bronze badge

Time to....

Syphon the python over these clowns...

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Silver badge

Games Workshop just tried to pull a similar stunt with the words Space Marine. This is as bad if not worse than patient trolling.

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Yep, seems that it's going to cost the PSF tens of thousands even if they win. There should be a way to recoup the costs of objection when a trademark application is filed that's as obviously flawed as this.

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Headmaster

What have hospitals to do with it?

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Trollface

"I'm sorry, you've got cancer. You've got five years to live."

"Oh god..."

"Nah, just screwing with you! It's really just three months!"

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Alert

Happens every day. Many good small business are put out of business by these trolls.

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Coat

How Pythonesque

(body)

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Coat

Re: How Pythonesque

Asking all and sundry to.....

Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam...

Loverly spam, wonderful spam!

...

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Silver badge

Time to lawyer up

Although its true that anyone can file a request to trademark a name there is a big difference between filing the request and the bureau actually granting the request.

As you can see here (link to oami.eu; detailing the trademark process) it will still take a while and there are several options for appeal. At first the trademark bureau themselves will investigate so it seems and if they accept the application and publish it then its time to file an appeal.

And as you can read on that same page even a 'final decision' can be opposed by an appeal. So right now I don't think there's too much reason to panic.

I only hope that the Python guys were smart enough to get a lawyer to look into this instead of consulting some "self proclaimed experts" who can handle all of this (for a nominal fee of course).

What I do consider odd is that if you use the search function on that page you'll notice that nothing comes up when looking for "Python".

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Re: Time to lawyer up

@ShelLuser:

You may want to look for European Trademark 010848208. Applicant is POBox Hosting.

That said: It seems to be a composite mark, i.e. it has a word component "PYTHON" and a pictorial component (circle, colour, all caps typeface). It seems to be more targeted to web hosting but contains a claim to computer software.

@El Reg:

"A community trademark lasts 10 years and would grant Veber exclusive ownership of the name Python in all European Union member counties.

It would prevent anybody else from using the word “Python” in goods, packaging, services, or in business papers and advertising without Veber’s express consent. Doing so would breach the trademark and entitle Veber to prosecute."

That is not certain yet. First of all, a trademark is only going to give rise to claims for the goods and services it is registered for or for which there is a likelihood of confusion. If the trademark is famous for the applicant (a quite high proportion of the public associates the trademark with the goods and services of the applicant), then it can monopolize a word also for other goods and services.

But does this trademark really go so far as to monopolize "PYTHON" for software? Or does it only protect the specific registered form? We are yet to find out.

Interestingly, there is also EM003098101, which is a word mark.

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FAIL

"This not a Python Community Trademark, this is a dog license with the word dog crossed out and 'Python' written in in crayon"

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Silver badge

And next we have "Being Hit On The Head lessons".

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Anonymous Coward

History repeating itself

yet again, a company acts to prove that Dick the Butcher had a point.

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Facepalm

I hope the trademark investigation process into this goes something like this:

1. Type the trademark being applied for (Python) into any good search engine.

2. See 187,000,000 results.

3. "Hmm, that's a popular word, looks like it's some programming language thing..."

4. Search on "Python programming language"

5. "Hmm, 15,000,000 results"

6. Reach for the "REJECTED" stamp.......

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I did that on Google

The snake doesn't come up until the fifth suggestion... the first four are for the programming language, followed by a Monty Python link, then f*ck knows how many more programming language links.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I did that on Google

But if the EU did that with google, they'd just assume the results had somehow been corrupted by google because they make use of the language. Then use that to accuse them of anti-competitive behavior

"We searched for Python, and found lots of links to the programming language. The same language you guys use for some of your software... We demand that when you search for Python, other similar languages appear or it's anti-competitive!"

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Anonymous Coward

This is assuming that Intellectual Property administrators know enough about computers to use a search engine - prior experience says otherwise. Or that they care enough to do other than that which they were slipped a nice additional bribe to ignore...

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Bronze badge

Kind of reminds me of ...

the previous Python-related copyright snafu involving Twisted and (val)grind. Guido and friends seem to be on similarly strong grounds here.

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Isnt EvE Online built on Python?

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yes, stackless python to be precise

Although things could get a bit iffy that way, CCP (the company that made and maintains eve) is based in Iceland, however the do have an office in Newcastle and the servers(not including the servers for the special version just for china) being in a datacenter somewhere around London

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Thumb Up

Isnt EvE Online built on Python?

I do believe the UI is (was) Python based.

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Silver badge

This is vaguely familiar

Wasn't "Linux" trademarked in the USA by some goon, and then an army of nice lawyers (a rarity, I know) came in and got it awarded to Linus (where it is now).

Deja Vu all over again.

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WTF?

Re: This is vaguely familiar

There were several attempts to trademark the Linux name by those who had no claim to the it. Eventually Linux Torvalds was granted it and passed it onto the Linux Mark Institute who continue to administer the trademark.

Full story at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Linux#Trademark_rights

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