back to article Python-lovers sling 'death threats' at UK ISP in trademark row

UK webhosting outfit Veber has called the police after fending off abuse in the wake of its attempt to trademark "python" in Europe. The small biz said it came under fire from fans of the popular Python programming language. The firestorm appeared to have been ignited by a Python Software Foundation (PSF) blog post on 14 …

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FAIL

The people responsible for this threatening behaviour are possibly the saddest people I have EVER come across. This is beyond ridiculous.

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Anonymous Coward

But not surprising given the number of people that use the language, and the number of people who will join in "just for lulz"

And anyway they're not as sad as the people that like X-Factor or Eastenders - they're probably on the level of people that have fanatical views about Operating Systems or Browsers.

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Thumb Down

"This is beyond ridiculous."

It's also 100% foreseeable.

The only ridiculous thing is that the company of N men and a dog kicked this off in the first place.

It's just pure provocation. "Yeah, we own the name, never heard of PYTHON in relationship to computers, we will trademark it, yadda yadda".

They should have trademarked PRUTON and all of this could have been avoided.

Here's hoping their telephone explodes due to the stupid.

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Devil

But they didn't kick it off did they?

They applied for a non-software, but IT related, trademark for a word\name that they had been trading under for 16 years (without objection). Then they get ambushed by an hysterical statement from a monolithic organisation who have made little effort to secure their own rights to the mark in the past (despite being lead by an IP lawyer!)

But the PSF will get a free pass as they not Apple, Google, Microsoft or Games Workshop.

Spots the Space Marine, may I introduce you to Python the Server.

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Meh

That's complete BS.

If there was "no objection" then there was no problem, right? Veber owns "python.co.uk" for unknown reasons without having trademarked anything for a long time. The Python language has been called Python for unknown reasons without having trademarked anything for a long time. Then suddenly...

It's pretty rich that you point fingers at the PSF while okaying jerky behaviour by Veber. Whether the PSF is "monolithic" (what?) or not is neither here nor there.

They applied for a non-software

Citation needed...

I have this. You may say it's false, but please do tell me more.

There is a company in the UK that is trying to trademark the use of the term "Python" for all software, services, servers... pretty much anything having to do with a computer. Specifically, it is the company that got a hold on the python.co.uk domain 13 years ago. At that time we weren't looking a lot at trademark issues, and so we didn't get that domain.

This hasn't been an issue since then because the python.co.uk domain has, for most of its life, just forwarded its traffic on to the parent companies, veber.co.uk and pobox.co.uk. Unfortunately, Veber has decided that they want to start using the name "Python" for their server products.

We contacted the owners of python.co.uk repeatedly and tried to discuss the matter with them. They blew us off and responded by filing the community trademark application claiming the exclusive right to use "Python" for software, servers, and web services - everywhere in Europe.

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Which just goes to show that the denizens of hobby computer forums are dumber than the average SUN reader. May Inspector Knacker arrest them all.

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I have this which they filed April last year. As I understand it the colours indicated are important - essentially they're claiming their logo.

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FAIL

FAIL all the way

They are claiming a distinctive logo and the PYTHON string.

Implying that there would be no problem, how hard is it to talk to the Python guys and allay their fears, maybe write up a MOU about not grabbing each other's legal balls?

Looks like that was too hard, too.

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monolithic organisation

Please provide evidence for this incorrect and unsubstantiated claim. The PSF is possibly not a model of democracy but it is democratic and Van is the elected chairman.

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FAIL

The people responsible for this threatening behaviour are possibly the saddest people I have EVER come across. This is beyond ridiculous.

I agree, maybe they'll reconsider and withdraw the trademark application. Oh, you mean the script kiddies who seemingly took down an ISP without much effort? Not very impressive on both sides I'd say but if it was my company I'd be doing my damnedest to make sure there couldn't be a repetition otherwise who is going to want to do business with me?

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Anonymous Coward

@a cynic writes

Application states: Class 9 - software. Nuff said.

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FAIL

Yes, you would expect this from Ruby "rockstar ninjas" but not from Python users, who're supposed to be grown-ups.

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Anonymous Coward

Problem with grown ups

Is their language got adopted by kids and companies in the hacking community for security testing, fuzzing and all sorts and exploit code delivery in other dark corners of the web use Python to show POCs.

It also got adopted by the scientific community so something about it that has mass appeal.

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This is exactly what I expect from the Python community

Having spent some time reading the Python newsgroup, asking questions and making suggestions.

And reading insults from senior members of the community. And getting insulted for asking questions. And getting insulted for making suggestions (which were later adopted in Python 3).

I spent 5 years in another public newsqroup which was polite and helpful, for a product that had many more users than Python has ever had, so I know it's possible, and it is not just me.

The Python community, like many other online communities, is a bunch of self-rightious, self-important, imature gits, who still manage to think that they are God's own gift to civilization.

Sadly, I see several people here defending their behaviour.

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Anonymous Coward

@Electric Panda

The sad fact though is that this mob mentality is visible all too often in this business.

Shall I just say... Apple? Or... Microsoft, perhaps?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Electric Panda

Or Mozilla or Google or Mysql or OpenOffice

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Re: This is exactly what I expect from the Python community

The Python community, like many other online communities, is a bunch of self-rightious, self-important, imature gits, who still manage to think that they are God's own gift to civilization.

You couldn't be more wrong, you simply don't have the brain capacity as a normal person to understand the geek community. The idiot is people like you who don't understand how to forget a post the second after you have read/typed it. You carry around your venom, burning you up.

I can argue with other geeks and they will still buy me a pint after. The fact I don't drink beer is most likely more an offence than I called them a pile of bantha poodoo.

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My eyes!

"I have this which they filed April last year. As I understand it the colours indicated are important - essentially they're claiming their logo."

Somebody introduce their graphic designer to anti-aliasing.

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Joke

Re: This is exactly what I expect from the Python community

Typical of pythonidae:

"When they feel threatened, many will hiss, ooze a bad-smelling material from the vent area at the beginning of the tail, and possibly strike and/or bite."

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Trollface

The solution is simple - just change the language's name.

For example, I believe "Py+hon" isn't trademarked by anyone.

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Re: The solution is simple - just change the language's name.

We need some sort of authority figure to stop this before it all gets too silly... Sounds like a job for Bicycle Repair Man!

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Re: The solution is simple - just change the language's name.

ahem...Sore point. Monty python is a competing mark.

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Flame

Re: The solution is simple - just change the language's name.

The solution is simple - just keep the language's name. And forget about it, or have all been hit by an apple.

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Re: The solution is simple - just change the language's name.

My understanding is that the Python language was named after Monty Python. If true, this is a case of pot and kettle.

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Re: The solution is simple - just change the language's name.

Indeed, the original authors were Monty Python fans.

The documentation is littered with references to the comedy series.

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Stop

Re: The solution is simple - just change the language's name.

Stop this, your just being too silly.

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Joke

I guess they didn't expect..

..the Spanish Inquisition

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: I guess they didn't expect..

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!

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Re: I guess they didn't expect..

Surprise! That is one of our main weapons.

Surprise, and denial of service attacks.

(..though if it's Catholic, surely that should be "denial of mass")

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Linux

Re: I guess they didn't expect..

The Spanish inquisition!

Our weapons are tuples, comprehensions iterators and generators... oh wait!

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Anonymous Coward

When you kick a hornet nest expect to get stung.

Whether right or wrong.

If you're in IT and do something as monumentally stupid as trying to usurp the name of a popular technology (particularly a community technology) you're going to piss off a lot of people (some who rarely leave their basements except to fire bomb people that threaten their precious something or another.)

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WTF?

exactly...

it must have occurred to them that there would be some slightly unhappy Python language users. OK the the response was a little over the top but then they could always try and trademark something a little less well used - I heard Brainf**k is available - no?

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Facepalm

The bit I'm failing to understand is why they think they need to trademark Python, and why they thought no-one in a community known for its "passion" wouldn't mind.

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Holmes

Perfectly understood...

@dotdavid: how many of us had heard of Veber before they pulled this stupid stunt? Maybe Veber is not doing so well and some bright spark there says: "Hey I have this brilliant idea to get us some free publicity! You know we own that domain python.co.uk....?" etc.

There is no proof of this but at best Poultney is being disingenuous:

Poultney claims he’s only interested in the trademark on the servers. “We are not interested in the trademark on the language,” Poultney told The Reg.

Well, Mr Poultney, your IPO filing (linked to by a cynic writes... above) says otherwise. And if you want a friendly chat with PSF about this why send your lawyers to talk to them?

Frankly Poultney/Veber's behaviour has been crass and probably dishonest and he should have known better than to expose his staff to the inevitable response generated by his cynical stunt.

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Anonymous Coward

@dotdavid

"The bit I'm failing to understand is why they think they need to trademark Python,"

Me neither, but whatever.

"and why they thought no-one in a community known for its "passion" wouldn't mind."

Presumably they don't read The Reg's forums. If they had they'd realise that filing patents justifies any behaviour in the eyes of some people. Shame to see the word "inevitable" being used to mean "It's acceptable - they asked for it, after all." Some people here could only aspire to be pathetic some day.

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Re: Perfectly understood...

Actually, having read the filing, I find that PSF is the one being disingenuous.

The Chairman of the PSF, a blowhard lawyer, knowingly and deliberately posted false and inflammatory information on his blog while representing the PSF. Those false and inflammatory postings lead to criminal action by the PSF's followers.

Had he done this against a US company and not a UK one, he would likely be served with a criminal complaint.

He is a lawyer and he should know better - but alas, like most lawyers he thinks that he is above the law. It is a shame that such a fine tool as Python should be tarnished by his actions.

(Anonymous, because the PSF followers have already shown their propensity towards criminal activity)

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When you kick a hornet nest expect to get stung.

So the Python geeks have the inteligence and character of wasps? And it was "monumentally stupid" not to know this?

Normal people expect a normal level of intelligence and social competence. Wasps should be removed if they are a threat.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When you kick a hornet nest expect to get stung.

Your normal people are pretty stupid then. Also you seem to fail to understand the concept of a metaphor which I assume explains your definition of normal people. In fact it probably explains why you think that there is such a thing as a normal person.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When you kick a hornet nest expect to get stung.

You're also confusing intelligence with behavior and social aptitude. Also confusing social aptitude with behavior... actually you're bundling lots of things together that don't have much to do with each other. You can be an intelligent, socially inept, mass murderer, an intelligent, charismatic mass murderer. a stupid, charismatic, mass murderer, an intelligent charismatic mass murderer, you can be an intelligent, charismatic, nice person, (I think we get the picture.)

And with tens of thousands of people using the language (who knows how many, lots and lots and lots) only an idiot would believe them all to be nice well adjusted human beings.

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European Patent Office?

"According to the European Patents Office, nobody in Europe currently holds a trademark on Python."

@Mr. Clarke:

Could this be the "Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs)" in Alicante, Spain, eventually? The European Patent Office is in Munich and concerns itself with patents, not trademarks as far as I understand.

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Coat

“We are five men and a dog - not a multinational with lawyers. One of the guys is off with stress."

I wouldn't wish the dog to get stressed out by this flap.

Dogs got personality. Personality goes a long way.

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Re: “We are five men and a dog - not a multinational with lawyers."

Still no excuse for doing something Stupid.

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Trollface

five men and a dog

The dog better watch out for pythons!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVXlPP1Q9Y0

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I was considering using Python for a client for cloud backup solutions. Now the website is dead. That's now not going to happen, and I'm glad that I hadn't signed the contract on behalf the of the client.

Very nearly VERY embarrassing for our own company too...

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WTF?

I can't believe some of you think they should have 'expected' this

They have had the domain since 1997. I don't agree with them getting any trademark that conflicts with the python language, but there is no excuse for threatening phone calls and emails.

*prepares to be downvoted by fanbois that don't live in the real world*

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Re: I can't believe some of you think they should have 'expected' this

"When you step out in front of a truck, the truck needs no excuse." ℠

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I can't believe some of you think they should have 'expected' this @ Destroy All Monsters

"When you step out in front of a truck, the truck needs no excuse."

We are the FOSS brigade, hear us roar. Get on our wrong side and pay the price. Blah blah blah.

Buffoon.

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Extraordinary

Nerds using a phone to communicate with customer service? Don't be daft.

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Re: Extraordinary

Reminds me of this: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2003/06/30

:)

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