November 15, 2002

Lots of Linux-related trademarks up for grabs

- by Tina Gasperson -
IBM has abandoned its trademark on the phrase "Peace, Love and Linux," according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office website. IBM officials did not respond to our request for an explanation. Apparently, the phrase is now up for grabs if any enterprising entrepreneur wants to take advantage of the name recognition.But it is not clear whether or not the database is inaccurate in its listing details. A public relations representative for the USPTO says that the information is realtime and is correct, but at least one Linux-related business says that it tried to create a trademark for its business, Mission Critical Linux, but was told that the phrase was too generic. The USPTO website also lists that trademark as "abandoned."

Other familiar-sounding trademarks that have been left by the wayside include "Linux Bible," the name for the series of biblically-proportioned guides to Linux published by Yggdrasil. The books are out of print, and apparently they are not planning to publish any more of them.

Embedded Linux Journal has abandoned its trademark on that phrase. ELJ was folded into Linux Journal last summer, but now appears to be only an outdated archive on the website, with the last article published September 30, 2002.

Interestingly, the SAIR Linux and GNU certification trademark is abandoned. The testing and certification agency was picked up by Thomson; a Thomsom company representative says that the SAIR name will probably cease to exist sometime in the near future, so it makes sense that they'd drop the trademark.

Linux Mandrake was registered by the Paris-based company, but they let it slide; CEO Jacques Le Marois told Newsforge that since they've registered Mandrake, they don't feel they need Linux Mandrake anymore.

"The Linux Show" was registered and then abandoned by one Mark Rassi, a gentleman who doesn't appear to have any current connection with the actual "The Linux Show" brought to us by Jeff Gerhardt.

"We put the 'X' in Linux" is a phrase that was trademarked at one time by Key Labs, Inc. They do hardware and software certification services. They insist, despite what the USPTO database indicates, that their trademark is not abandoned and that they are still putting the "X" in Linux just like before, thanks very much.

None of these trademarks have expired; the standard expiration on a trademark is ten years after its registration date - Linux hasn't been around long enough to have spawned many old age trademark expirations. They are all listed as dead by abandonment - "failure to respond to office action," is what the database says.

What about just plain Linux? The database shows that Linus Torvalds' registration of the trademark wasn't approved and finalized until December 2000. Around the time his application was filed in 1999, another entity, Linux Technology Limited, in Taiwan, filed its own application to register Linux as a trademark. Even longer ago in 1997, there was at least one publicized dispute over the Linux trademark, when several Linux vendors starting getting letters from a Mr. William Della Croce, Jr., who claimed he owned the trademark for Linux.

Other interesting trademark orphans:

Linux Planet
Linux Devices
Linux Networx
Embedded Linux Expo & Conference
Enterprise Linux
Linux Laptops
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