Don’t forget

This Monday (6 February), Lior Zemer, mostly of Leicester, but also of Boston University School of Law, will be speaking at Queen Mary IPRI on the interface between copyright and Lockean theory. All are welcome and nobody’s palm needs to be crossed with silver, but please RSVP to Ilanah. The fun begins at 12.30pm.

Here they go again

ZDNet reports Linux Mark Institute (the body set up by Linus Torvalds to protect the LINUX mark) may be appealing against the decision by the Australian Trade Mark Registrar to refuse to register LINUX as a trade mark. An application to register the mark was turned down last year on grounds of lack of distinctiveness. Linux Australia’s president stated with regard to the present proceedings

"The decision of the trademarks office can be appealed, and I believe that is in progress, however Linux Australia is not actioning that…That's being done by the Linux Mark Institute…Their legal team is going through the process, and we are providing them information as they request it, as they need access to local documentation, and things like that, but we're really a third-party to it…We're not directly involved in the process.".
The initial application caused furore amongst software developers who use Linux and feared that they were at risk of being deprived of the opportunity to use the term, or would be forced to pay royalties to the mark-owner.

The IPKat says that this decision certainly important enough to make it worth appealing. The idea of an operating system being generic has implications that could reach well beyond Linux.
REMEMBER; A LA RECHERCHE DU TMS PERDU REMEMBER; A LA RECHERCHE DU TMS PERDU Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, February 03, 2006 Rating: 5

1 comment:

Andrea Glorioso said...

with reference to your news on the appeal by the Linux Mark Institute
and specifically to the concluding remark "The idea of an operating
system being generic has implications that could reach well beyond
Linux" (which I read as "[t]he idea of an operating system's *name*
being genetic [...]", unless there is something deeper in that
sentences that I am missing) you surely know how careful one must be
when using the term "Unix".

The latter can, in fact, be at the same a trademark (owned by AT&T, if
I'm not wrong) when identifying - strange but true - the "UNIX(tm)
Operating System", as well as a generic name to identify a certain
class of operating systems whose characteristics (technically, the API
or Application Programming Interface, but I won't bore you with that)
are all more or less common to a "nucleus" from which UNIX(tm) itself
was derived.

Therefore, we have operating systems as diverse as AIX, SunOS,
Solaris, even Linux, which are "Unix based" (note the different
capitalization - "Unix" or "unix" v "UNIX(tm)") or even "unices"
(plural of "unix", although some write "unixes" or "unixen").

In Italian we even say that an operating system is "uno unix" ("a
unix") in the sense above.

So, it might be argued that "Unix" has already become a generic term,
phonetically speaking (unless people say to each other "this operating
system is a unix but not a unix-trademark", which, even in the rather
peculiar world of computer geeks, is not my experience). Graphically,
I know that the difference between "UNIX(tm)" and "unix" has been
enforced with a certain attention by the trademark holder, although I
can't quote you relevant case law right now.

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