Is the word "Python" copyrighted/trademarked?

Michael Stenner mstenner at
Wed Oct 2 14:43:25 CEST 2002

On Tue, Oct 01, 2002 at 09:41:13PM -0700, David LeBlanc wrote:
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: python-list-admin at
> > [mailto:python-list-admin at]On Behalf Of Michael Stenner
> > > A bit like Ford trademarking "car", I suppose. Wouldn't this
> > > apply to "Python" as well?
> >
> > I agree with the first part.  Ford couldn't trademark "car" because
> > the word is used commonly and generally _in_their_market_.  This is
> > not true with python.  I'd be willing to bet that Ford _has_
> > trademarked "Mustang", for example.  The fact that it commonly refers
> > to an animal is not a problem.  If they tried to trademark "muscle
> > car" (as in "buy the new 2003 Ford Muscle Car"), they might have more
> > trouble.
> 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.

It's not really a counter argument :)  I never meant to say that the
"python" trademark is currently on solid ground, on that it's common
usage (as a type of snake) didn't make it less viable as a trademark.

I do not feel even remotely qualified to speak to your point.
("remotely" is approximately how qualified I am to speak on the other
stuff.)  I'm not terribly worried, though, and (to swing back on
topic) doubt that anyone would be terribly aggressive about

Personally, I would be a bit uncomfortable with "the Python Web
Server" (or whatever the example was) mostly because it might imply
that it was written/sanctioned/blessed by the "python folks".
Regardless of linguistic origins, it's fairly well understood that
"PyStuff" means "Stuff is written IN python" not "Stuff was written BY
the python folks" and so I think "PyStuff" is a bit safer in this
  Michael Stenner                       Office Phone: 919-660-2513
  Duke University, Dept. of Physics       mstenner at
  Box 90305, Durham N.C. 27708-0305

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