Python trademark under attack -- the PSF needs your help

Jason Swails jason.swails at gmail.com
Fri Feb 15 17:11:49 CET 2013


On Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 9:04 AM, Steven D'Aprano <
steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info> wrote:

> Giles Coochey wrote:
>
> [...]
> >> If you have documentation of European user groups, trade associations,
> >> books, conferences, scans of job advertisements for Python programmers,
> >> software that uses some variation of "Python" in the name, etc. your
> >> evidence will be helpful in defeating this attempted grab of the Python
> >> name.
> >>
> > Err...
> >
> http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=python
> >
> > One would think that is enough.
>
> Giles, thank you for taking the time to respond, but I'm sorry to say that
> I
> don't think your response is helpful. Unless you are a trademark lawyer,
> your intuition about how trivially easy this will be is probably not going
> to be accurate.
>
> You would probably think it was presumptuous for a trademark lawyer to
> venture an opinion on how easy it is to write some piece of software. The
> same applies in reverse. We need to listen to the experts in European
> trademark law, those who know what sort of evidence the European Trademark
> Office consider meaningful and significant. These people have told the
> Python Software Foundation what needs to be done to fight this trademark
> application, and trust me, "spend two seconds doing a search on Amazon" is
> *not* it.
>
> Dismissing the trademark grab as:
>
> > Surely and open/shut case.
>
> is the simplest way to ensure that the PSF loses their appeal and the right
> to the name "Python" in Europe.
>
> If anyone has the sort of documentary evidence which the PSF has requested,
> and can scan and email them to the PSF, that will be helpful. If anyone is
> willing and able to donate money to the foundation to help with the legal
> expenses, estimated at tens of thousands of dollars, to challenge this
> trademark application, that will also be helpful. If you have a blog,
> please consider spreading the word.
>
> The PSF needs all the help it can get, but it needs to be the sort of help
> set out here:
>
>
> http://pyfound.blogspot.com/2013/02/python-trademark-at-risk-in-europe-we.html
>
> If anyone is thinking of doing something trivially easy which anyone can
> do,
> such as googling "python", trust me, the PSF has already done it. The PSF
> is looking for the sort of help that they can't get by typing into a search
> engine. If anyone can help, that's great. If you can't help, then please
> don't discourage those who can by claiming this is trivial.
>

I'm not offering much help here, more like wondering aloud.  Doesn't Google
(not to mention other software companies) have an interest staked in
binding the Python name with the Python language?  I can't imagine
python.co.uk staging a successful campaign against one of the best-known
companies in computers (that employs Python's creator, no less).

FWIW, Python is becoming more and more popular in the computational life
sciences field (do a search for "computational chemistry python" in
scholar.google.com, for instance).  It is becoming a core part of the
software solutions marketed by companies that write programs for this field
(e.g. Schrodinger, OpenEye, Accelrys, CCG -- I only know the North American
companies).  Virtually all of them ship/sell support scripts written in
Python and/or provide a Python-based API into their software for easy
modification.

These companies pitch Python integration into their marketing schemes as a
way of selling themselves as easy-to-use, highly flexible/customizable
software (with support, obviously).  Their biggest customers are big
pharmaceutical companies, so I imagine there is a good bit of interest in
that sector for defending the Python name for PSF.

All the best,
Jason
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