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Date:      Mon, 08 Oct 2001 18:39:55 +0200 (CEST)
From:      Salvo Bartolotta <>
To:        Ted Mittelstaedt <>
Cc:        Salvo Bartolotta <>, "P. U. (Uli) Kruppa" <>, freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.ORG
Subject:   RE: Use of the UNIX Trademark
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <000001c14fd2$64ef10c0$>
References:  <000001c14fd2$64ef10c0$>

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Ted Mittelstaedt <> wrote:


> ><exercise for the reader>
> >Try and imagine how far the world could have gone if such rules as
> those for
> >trademarks had applied to scientific research.  In particular, suppose
> each
> >and every researcher had had to pay $MONEY in order to be allowed to
> utilize
> >eg Galileo's ideas, Newton's laws, Maxwell's equations[*], etc.
> >
> This isn't fair.  We (meaning the UNIX community, collectively)
> voluntarily
> chose to use the word UNIX, knowing full well that it was trademarked
> by
> AT&T.  (Trademarking the term UNIX was one of the first things that
> AT&T's
> lawyers concerned themselves with about the operating system)  While
> it's
> a crying shame that TOG is totally uninterested in the success of the
> paradigm against the Windows paradigm and isn't willing to allow the
> term
> UNIX to be spread around, we frankly can't complain about it - our
> brethern
> in the Linux community didn't seem to have a problem coining the term
> "Linux"
> to refer to their OS.
> Every industry has this problem.  Xerox pulled back the term "Xerox"
> and
> everyone shifted to use of the term "photocopy", Kleenex turned into
> "bathroom tissue" and so forth.  We already have a perfectly good
> generic
> UNIX term - "BSD" that we ought to be using anyway.
> What trademarking protects is the marketing and advertising efforts.
> After all, how fair would it be for a company to manufacture a tennis
> shoe,
> slap the name "Nike" on it, and then do no marketing and advertising of
> their
> own and be able to suck off all the money that Nike spends marketing
> their
> shoes.
> Consider also that this works both ways too.  For example, Sun cannot
> use the
> term "Linux" to refer to their Solaris operating system, and thus
> cannot
> benefit
> by the grass-roots advertising and marketing done to promote Linux.  How
> would
> you like it if IBM decided to label one of their AIX UNIX releases
> "The FreeBSD revision of AIX" and thus start confusing all the newbies
> that
> are just getting into using FreeBSD?

On the whole, I agree.  I am not inviting anyone to infringe trademark law, 
and I don't think it should be abolished. :-)

What I perceive as rather annoying is that, these days (21st century), a 
product of genius^Wresearch such as UNIX, which was born about 30 years ago, 
can be subject to silly regulations^Wguidelines as those of TOG 
accountants^Wpeople.   Actually, the so called "UNIX" today consists of a few 
OSes belonging to two main branches.

However, TOG may be even right from a strictly legal standpoint.

> And as far as Maxwell's equations are concerned, that's patent law, 

I strongly disagree. For the following essential theoretical/philosophical 

Science != technology.

Science ~ knowledge (meeting certain requirements); technology ~ [more or less 
original] application(s) of Science.

For instance, Mawxell's equations, Quantum Mechanics, etc cannot be patented 
whereas any *original* invention/appliance/suchlike derived from them can be 

At least in Europe.

-- Salvo

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