Python Trademark Foolishness

This story was amusing. Someone is claiming to own the trademark to “Python” in Europe, covering all usage of the word “Python” in computers or software.  They are not related to the Python programming language.  If they succeed, it would prevent people from using the word “Python” to refer to the programming language, without permission of that trademark troll.

Obviously, based on merit, the trademark should not succeed.  However, it will be decided by whoever has the better lawyers, rather than based on merit.  Even if the trademark troll fails, he forced people to waste time and money fighting him.

This is the problem with trademarks.  Nobody should own the right to use a specific word or phrase.  It would be offensive to use a name that conflicted with an established business, but it shouldn’t be illegal.  If you picked a confusing name for your business, you would be liable for fraud if you confused your customers.

Intellectual property is not a valid form of property.

One Response to Python Trademark Foolishness

  1. There is a true horror story courtesy of the legal system in the United Kingdom.

    A university lecturer wrote a book on his own time and on his own equipment.

    His employer sued him as they said they owned the copyright for his book.

    I can’t remember the details as I read about it some years ago. But a court ruled that university lecturers were employed to perform lectures, but the content of what they say belongs to them.

    How nasty! You say something and then a nasty clown shakes you down and say they own the copyright of anything you write down, even if they never told you to write a book!

    Also, I don’t know if it was the same case, but UK courts have ruled the employer only owns the copyright of what they DIRECTLY ORDER.

    So the employer does not own everything a person writes before, duration and after their employment if it was not directly ordered.

    At the least the UK seems to have sensible copyright law, but only by virtue of case law, not obviously vaguely worded statutory law. Well I don’t know. Perhaps the law as written is fine, but it was just a greedy university that decided to swing the lead and be cheeky.

    But with people swinging the lead and the high costs of even trivial law cases, it is a mess.

    I can see how nasty it gets. You write something on your own time, on your own equipment and even before or after your employment and some nasty piece of work comes along and says “prove you wrote that work before I had a brief word with you down the pub otherwise I will waste 2 years of your life and 1 million pounds of your money with a bogus lawsuit”.

    The law may be okay. The problem may be with bent lawyers twisting everything and bent clients telling lies and half-truths.

    The facts and law are irrelevant. Even if the law is clear and on your side, a clown can waste a lot of your money and time with a bogus legal case.

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