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In the world of technology, the word “Python” can only mean one thing. And it don’t mean no stinkin’ cloud-hosting company.
An obscure U.K. cloud server company is trying to trademark the word “Python” for just about any computer-related use, including software and services. This company, which bought the ULR “python.co.uk” more than a decade ago, is now facing off with the Python Software Foundation, beloved keepers of the open-source Python programming language.
“We contacted the owners of python.co.uk repeatedly and tried to discuss the matter with them,” writes foundation chair Van Lindberg on the organization’s blog. “They blew us off and responded by filing the community trademark application claiming the exclusive right to use ‘Python’ for software, servers, and web services everywhere in Europe.”
Lindberg said the company had been doing business under other names (Veber, Pobox) and the trademark issue didn’t come up until recently. In fact, python.co.uk used to redirect to other URLs until now.
The Python Software Foundation has, on the other hand, been using the term for the past 20 years and has held a U.S. trademark for many years as well. Unfortunately, the PSF’s EU trademark application hasn’t yet matured. Enter the trademark trolls.
The U.K. company in question is doing the unthinkable in naming itself after a respected software organization. Not only is it consigning itself to SEO hell, it’s also being a huge jerk toward a friendly entity known and beloved by many of their target audience.
As reads the sole Google Places review of the python.co.uk company:
Deliberate attempts to benefit off of the efforts of the Python Software Foundation, who I’m willing to bet have provided the platform that a large deal of your business is based on. One less company to consider for my EU offsite/cloud backups storage needs! Stay away, these guys are scum.
So, what can you do about it? Well, if you work in the EU, the Python Software Foundation is asking you to write a nice letter describing how you use Python for work, how the word “Python” means the programming language “Python” in your view, and how another company claiming that trademark is confused and leading to more confusion in the software community. (The PSF blog post has more details on exact verbiage.)
The PSF is also asking for pictures or scans of the word “Python” being used in printed materials such as books, conference signage, magazines, job listings, and so on in the EU.
The PSF is also soliciting donations to help with legal fees.
So U.S. readers, please give what you can, and bring this issue to the attention of your Python-using friends in the EU. Together, we can put a stop to trademark trolls.