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Firm moves to trademark 'Python' name out from under the language

Open-sourcers struggle against hostile snake snatch

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A trademark battle has erupted following a company’s bid to stake a Europe-wide claim to the name "Python" - that of many devs’ favourite scripting language.

The Python Software Foundation has said it’s wrestling UK-based web host Veber for its own name after the company informed the software people it was applying for Community Trademark on the name “Python”.

A community trademark lasts 10 years and would grant Veber, which also owns python.co.uk, exclusive ownership of the name Python in all European Union member counties.

It would prevent anybody else from using the word “Python” in goods, packaging, services, or in business papers and advertising without Veber’s express consent. Doing so would breach the trademark and entitle Veber to prosecute.

The name Python, though, was given to a programming language created in 1991 by Guido van Rossum. It has grown to become one of world’s top-ten of software languages.

Rossum tweeted on Friday: “The Python trademark is in danger in Europe!”

The Python Foundation said it’s now contesting Veber by trying to lodge its own trademark, one developed through the language’s use over 20 years.

The Foundation says it’s been told it must prove to the European trademark officials that “Python” has already been taken and is use in association with software.

To do this, the Foundation wants loyal users to bombard it with letters that describe how their companies use Python and how they understand Python only comes from the PSF. Also it wants books, magazines, job ads and other material published in the EU that use "Python" to refer to Python-the-language.

The open-source group also needs financial donations to lodge the appeal.

The Foundation said:

According to our London counsel, some of the best pieces of evidence we can submit to the European trademark office are official letters from well-known companies "using PYTHON branded software in various member states of the EU" so that we can "obtain independent witness statements from them attesting to the trade origin significance of the PYTHON mark in connection with the software and related goods/services." We also need evidence of use throughout the EU.

Veber representatives had no comment to offer as this article was written. We'll update this should we hear further from them. ®

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