Is the word "Python" copyrighted/trademarked?

David LeBlanc whisper at
Wed Oct 2 08:29:17 CEST 2002

> -----Original Message-----
> From: python-list-admin at
> [mailto:python-list-admin at]On Behalf Of dsavitsk
> Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2002 22:39
> To: python-list at
> Subject: Re: Is the word "Python" copyrighted/trademarked?
> "David LeBlanc" <whisper at> wrote in message
> news:mailman.1033533484.25470.python-list at
> >
> * * *
> > The counter argument could be made that since Python has been
> used so many
> > times in referece to the language without a trademark assertion
> ("(TM)" or
> > "(R)" since it's actually registered), that it's no longer defensible.
> Beyer
> > lost "Asperin" that way and Milton-Bradley lost "Monopoly" (essentially,
> the
> > whole game). Xerox has taken pains to avoid having "xerox"
> become a common
> > term for 'xerograpic reproduction' their preferred term.
> Note that there is a difference.  Asperin was lost because it did
> not mark a
> particular trade, that is, people didn't know it was a particular
> company's
> product as opposed to a generic product. (Escalator is another good
> example.)  In Python's case, there is no confusion whether Python (R) is a
> particular product.  Clearly not all, or even a few, languages are Python
> ... only 1. Notice that Activepython is (R), and presumably jython, and
> stackless python could be as well.
> There is a second part to trademarks which is that you must
> defend your mark
> else you lose it.  I think you combined the 2 above (they didn't defend it
> and it became generic).  thus, if NCRI allows a few folks to use
> Python and
> not Python (R) they could lose it. This almost happened to the
> BSD beastie,
> and there is a page up with the trademark info to protect
> it(
> -d
> --

But I've seen lots of "Python" and have yet to notice "Python(R)". In fact,
the startup message at a command prompt for Python does not use it, nor does
Idle. Has NCRI ever made it's ownership clear, issued guidelines for use or
defended it's mark?

I don't think (not sure) that languages can be trademarked anyway can they?
I doubt "English" or "english" can be marked? Would this extend to an
artificial language?

As for Jython and Stackless Python or almost anything (especially distint
vs. a generic term), a (TM) by it is easy enough and offers some protection.
I did this once with a term and got a nippy email back to the effect that I
supposed I thought I owned that term now.


David LeBlanc
Seattle, WA USA

More information about the Python-list mailing list