Python trademark under attack -- the PSF needs your help

Jason Swails jason.swails at
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> 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...
> >
> >
> > 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:
> 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 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, 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

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,
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