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Linux trademark bid rejected

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An attempt by the nation's peak Linux body to register the name 'Linux' on behalf of Linus Torvalds has failed.

The regulator, Intellectual Property Australia, turned down the application because the word 'Linux' was not distinctive enough to be trademarked.

The registration would have prevented companies from claiming the name as their own, or using it in trade paying royalties to the Linux Mark Institute, a global body established by Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

In a letter dated 31 August addressed to Perth-based lawyer Jeremy Malcolm, who represents Torvalds, Intellectual Property Australia official Andrew Paul Lowe said: "For your client's trademark to be registerable under the Trade Marks Act, it must have sufficient 'inherent adaptation to distinguish in the marketplace'.

"In other words, it cannot be a term that other traders with similar goods and services would need to use in the ordinary course of trade."

However, as IP Australia found, it was highly likely that other traders would also need to use the word Linux.

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