Feeds

Astérix whups MobiliX

Reverse in Gaul legal brawl

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

MobiliX, the Unix on mobile devices company, has suffered a legal setback in its dispute against the French publisher which owns the trademarks to the cartoon series Astérix the Gaul.

Les Editions Albert René claims MobiliX is similar in name to Obelix, a character in Asterix the Gaul, and so infringes on its trademark.

In June 2001, the French company hired German lawyers to go after MobiliX, demanding that it stop using the MobiliX name.

Werner Heuser, owner of MobiliX, refused; and in November 2001 Les Edition Albert René filed suit in Germany seeking to force Heuser to pay compensation. It even asked the courts to consider throwing the unfortunate Heuser in jail for his "crimes", according to his detailed account on the dispute.

In the hearing last June, the Landgericht Muenchen court dismissed the case. Obelix, the cartoon character, and MobiliX are NOT similar, the court concluded.

That should have been the end of the matter but Les Edition Albert René pressed on to appeal. Surely the higher court would back the earlier court's decision? No. The appeal court ruled that Obelix and MobiliX are similar after all.

In a written judgement released at the end of last month, the Appelation Court ruled the "Obelix and MobiliX are very similar" and people might confuse the two.

"It doesn't matter that the suffix 'ix' is used very often to name computer related products, because the names have to be sufficient apart," the judges ruled.

Heuser is consulting with his lawyers, Jaschinski, Biere & Brexl, on a basis for an appeal to the highest German court (Bundesgerichtshof) seeking to reverse this decision.

An appeal to Germany's top court must be lodged by February 27, Heuser told us today.

"I don't know how long it will take for the court to decide whether they allow an appeal," he said. "The case itself will take approximately five years. Until then I have to withdraw my domain."

"But anyway since there are many other cases (three related to Asterix and Obelix) already, which threaten the Open Source community, it's very important to fight back."

There is some good news, however. Heuser has found a sponsor, whose name must remain confidential (for now), to help with mounting legal fees.

The case is indeed important, not least because two other companies, Masterix and Skrobelix, have already withdrawn their names to avoid legal costs.

A detailed explanation of the case and background on the many company which have either iX in their names can be found here. ®

Related Stories

Mobilix whups Astérix
Easy now: Stelios calls to explain his company's behaviour

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.