trademarks

Open source hardware trademark application rejected

open source hardware trademark

On April 19th the United States Patent and Trademark Office finally rejected an application for the trademark open source hardware. The grounds for the rejection were that the term was "merely descriptive."

Trademarks are intended to identify a specific source of goods or services, protecting that source from confusion in the minds of consumers with other sources. Naturally then, if you try to obtain a trademark which is just a description of a type of product or service, it is proper that you should be refused; it would not be distinctive and it would distort the market by allowing one source to control the generic term. If I market a car for a hamster, I should not be able to get a trademark for the name hamster car, as that would improperly restrain competitors from bringing their own hamster cars to market. So, should we be pleased that the application was rejected?

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The Python trademark dispute

trademarks

UPDATE: In a March 22 press release, the PSF announced that the parties have reached an amicable resolution. According to the PSF, "Veber has withdrawn its trademark filing and has agreed to support the [PSF's] use of the term". Veber will rebrand its Python cloud server and backup services. For its part, Veber stated that its agreement with the PSF will "remove potential confusion between the Python software language and [Veber's] cloud services business".

The PSF's successful and efficient efforts to mobilize the Python community in its support undoubtedly had a significant effect on convincing Veber to settle the matter quickly.  


By now, active observers of the open source world will have heard of the trademark dispute between the Python Software Foundation (PSF) and Veber, a small hosting company in the UK. As reported by the PSF, Veber recently decided it wished to use "Python" in certain branding of its products and services. Veber filed an EU community trademark application, claiming the exclusive right to use the "Python" mark for software, servers, and web services throughout the EU. The PSF (which obtained a registered trademark for "Python" in the US in 2004) is opposing Veber's trademark application.

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Open For Business: The importance of trademarks, even for an open source business

Though it might seem to contradict the open source way, I believe it is essential for an open source project to register and protect its trademark.

Think about it: You spend hours upon hours creating a project, writing code and building a reputation. The code is free, so anyone can use it, but your reputation--that’s your business. How do you protect it, if just anyone can come along and use your name? » Read more

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