Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Torvalds in renewed Aust Linux trademark push

Filed under
Linux

The 28 July letter from Perth lawyer Jeremy Malcolm -- posted online -- asks vendors to either confirm they had already purchased a licence from the Linux Mark Institute (LMI) to use the term or sign a statutory declaration waiving any claim to exclusive rights to its use. In return for a signature, Malcolm said, the LMI would ratify the vendor's use of the term Linux and waive all rights regarding any previous trademark infringement. That vendor would then, however, be required to obtain a licence costing between US$300 and US$600 from LMI for continued use of the term.

The LMI -- appointed by Torvalds as the "worldwide exclusive licensee of the Linux trademark for the purposes of protecting that trademark from misuse" -- and local body Linux Australia have been involved in an 18-month struggle to register the term as a trademark in Australia.

"You may or may not be aware that it is your legal responsibility to obtain a licence from the [LMI] before you are allowed to use the word 'Linux' as part of your product or service name or brand," Malcolm's letter said.

The lawyer told ZDNet Australia this morning that acceptance by recipients of the letter to its conditions would help in making Torvalds' case for legal ownership of the term Linux to IP Australia, the local intellectual property regulator. "The success of Mr Torvalds' application for registration of 'Linux' as a trademark depends on your assistance," reads the letter.

Malcolm did, however admit this time last year Australian companies using the word 'Linux' to promote and sell their products weren't legally obliged to pay royalties to LMI as long as they weren't trading their wares internationally.

Malcolm's letter attracted a mixed response from some targeted vendors.

"I haven't signed any similar statutory declaration for any other products, vendors or trademarks that I deal with commercially," Linux vendor Si2's principal consultant, Marc Englaro, told ZDNet Australia , adding he would be investigating the issue further.

However, Steve D'Aprano, operations manager at prominent open source vendor Cybersource, told ZDNet Australia his company would sign the statutory declaration.

"If Linux were to fall out of trademark protection, there would be nothing to prevent unauthorised, shady and unscrupulous individuals and organisations from using the term for cheap knock-offs cashing in on the name or other products which harm the reputation of Linux, and by association, ourselves," he said.

Malcolm dismissed initial speculation from some Linux community members that the letter was fraudulent, pointing out he had the backing of both Linux Australia and the LMI.

"If it was just me writing then no-one would pay any attention," he said. "But I think Linux Australia is going to put out a press release about it, just to confirm it's legitimate."

Malcolm admits the possibility exists the trademark will not be granted to Torvalds.

"If that's the case it means that nobody will be able to have exclusive rights to the word," he said, "which also means we won't be able to stop people using it in a misleading way."

By Renai LeMay
ZDNet Australia

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: OSS

  • Why Open-Source Pros Are in Great Demand
    The majority of hiring managers predict that the demand for open-source IT professionals will rise more than other recruitment-based areas of interest over the next six months, according to a recent survey from the Linux Foundation and Dice. The resulting report, "Moving Toward Professionalization: Rising Need for Open-Source Skills in 2016," indicates that these managers struggle to fill open-source positions, especially when trying to find candidates with needed cloud, networking and/or security experience. Meanwhile, when considering an offer, open-source professionals said they're most interested in working on appealing projects with cutting-edge technology challenges. Money and perks are of secondary interest, even though, given the hot market, many open-source specialists are able to negotiate a great compensation package. According to the report, "In the last decade, open-source development has experienced a massive shift: Once a mostly community and volunteer-based concern, the model has since become a mainstay of the IT industry. Flexibility in accommodating new technologies and speed at adapting to a changing market have made open source vital to modern companies, which are now investing zealously in open source and open-source talent. More and better code is the way forward, and the skilled professionals who can make it happen are highly in demand." More than 400 hiring managers and 4,500 open-source professionals took part in the research.
  • Open Source Realm Mobile Database Hits Version 1.0
    Citing advantages over the SQLite and Core Data databases commonly used in iOS and Android apps, Realm today launched version 1.0 of its namesake "mobile-first database."
  • Realm has hit the version 1.0 milestone, and now reaches over 1 billion users
    As mobile databases go, Realm was already a fan favorite. Now we get an idea of just how popular it really is, as the company notes it now reaches one billion iOS and Android users via 100,000 active developers.
  • Rackspace Adopts OX's Dovecot Pro Open Source IMAP Email Platform
    Dovecot, the open source email platform from Open-Xchange, received a significant endorsement this week from Rackspace, which announced that it will use the company's Dovecot Pro product for email hosting.
  • An Apparent Exodus Continues At OwnCloud
    This week we've now seen the announcements by Jos Poortvliet, Lukas Reschke, Björn Schießle, and Arthur Schiwon are among those leaving ownCloud Inc. Each of their blog posts confirm they are leaving but don't shed much light on the underlying situation at the company.
  • Upcoming governance workshop for the European Catalogue of ICT Standards for Public Procurement
    On the 15th June, 2016, DG Connect and DG Growth wil be co-hosting an interactive workshop for the European Catalogue of ICT Standards for Public Procurement. This catalogue of standards is being developed to assist public procurers implement interoperable ICT solutions across Member States, as well as reducing incidence of vender lock-in, and ultimately to assist in the continued development of the Digital Single Market.
  • American schools are teaching our kids how to code all wrong
    To truly impact an children’s cognitive development, and prepare them for future computing jobs that may not even exist yet, we must move beyond pop computing. I strongly believe that learning computing should become mandatory in all schools, and should be viewed in the same context as reading and writing. Students must be challenged and encouraged to think differently in each grade level, subject matter, and read/write various computing projects every day in their academic life. With this mindset and approach we’ll help this generation of students fill those one million jobs, all of which require so much more than dragging and clicking.
  • Google Inbox Notifications
    I made a Firefox addon that brings that functionality to Google Inbox. It gives you a notification when new mail arrives and updates the pages title with the unread mail count. You can get it here!
  • Upcoming Webinar on Getting Linux Certified - Tips, Tactics, and Practical Advice

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Thursday
  • Paul Vixie on IPv6 NAT, IPv6 security and Internet of Things
    Internet pioneer Paul Vixie spoke with SearchSecurity about IPv6 NAT, IPv6 and the Internet of Things, and the long, thankless path to deploying IPv6.
  • PHP 7.0.7 Released Fixing 28 Bugs
    As is the case with a .xy update, this is mostly a bug fix update, with at least 28 different issues being fixed in an effort to make PHP 7.x more stable. Though the PHP project hasn't identified any specific security vulnerabilities that are fixed in the update, I see at least one with bug #72162.
  • Skimmers Found at Walmart: A Closer Look
    Recent local news stories about credit card skimmers found in self-checkout lanes at some Walmart locations reminds me of a criminal sales pitch I saw recently for overlay skimmers made specifically for the very same card terminals.

Android Leftovers

Leftovers: BSD

  • Faces of FreeBSD 2016: Michael Lucas
    Back by popular demand, we’re again sharing a story from someone involved in FreeBSD with our Faces of FreeBSD series. It may be a story from someone who’s received funding from us to work on development projects, run conferences, travel to conferences, or advocate for FreeBSD. Or, it may be from someone who gives back to FreeBSD financially or in another way. Regardless, it is always from someone who is making a positive difference in the FreeBSD world.
  • pfSense 2.3.1 FreeBSD Firewall Update Patches Web GUI Security Issue, Seven Bugs
    Released a week ago as the first maintenance build in the 2.3 stable series, pfSense 2.3.1 received its first update, bringing a patch for a major security issue in the Web GUI, as well as seven other bug fixes. pfSense 2.3.1 was a major point release of the FreeBSD-based network firewall distribution that introduced over 100 changes, but pfSense 2.3 brought a new pkg system that lets the project's maintainers update only individual parts of the system.