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NetBSD Trademark Application Completed 177

Posted by Hemos
from the locking-up-the-name dept.
Daniel de Kok writes "The NetBSD Foundation is proud to announce that it has registered the ``NetBSD®'' trademark. The foundation would like to thank Jay Michaelson (Wasabi Systems) for filing the application and providing answers to the US Patent Office, and Carl Oppedahl (Oppedahl & Larson) for giving advice and keeping the Foundation informed about the process. An official policy on the use of the NetBSD® trademark is currently being drafted and will be made public soon."
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NetBSD Trademark Application Completed

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  • trivial? (Score:2, Interesting)

    the NetBSD 'core' must have a lot of money if they can spend thousands on little things like trademarks (especially ironical considering the BSD licence almost like public domain, you'd think these people wouldn't care about copyrights and trademarks, etc).

    Looking at the application:

    Filing Date: 2000-09-12

    That must have cost a fortune in lawyer fees. But then, if this is what it takes to further improve their already great product (I run it on my IPAQ!), more power to them.
    • Re:trivial? (Score:5, Informative)

      by heironymouscoward (683461) <heironymouscoward@yahoo. c o m> on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:45PM (#8974217) Journal
      Actually the cost of a trademark registration is quite reasonable. You can do the discovery and filing for around $1000, possibly less if you do some of the paperwork yourself.

      IANAL but I have a few trademarks.

      Patents... OTOH cost 10x more to start with, and considerably more after that if you try to defend them.

      So a registered trademark is a good investment for a small company that fears competition.

      I don't see the immediate benefit to NetBSD, however.
      • Re:trivial? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dpille (547949) on Monday April 26, 2004 @02:09PM (#8974491)
        around $1000, possibly less if you do some of the paperwork yourself

        But the orignal post is quite right- in this case it must have cost a comparative fortune. Looking at the prosecution history, you can see two office actions and an appeal. I'm not sure "DIY" is even in the ballpark for non-lawyer IP professionals (let alone the average guy) in such circumstances.

        There's some additional prosecution history here [uspto.gov] if you're curious. Gotta say, the approach to get around the objections based on registrations for BSD and FREEBSD (see the 11/26/02 doc) is pretty interesting, and certainly emphasizes that getting a NETBSD registration required a fair amount of work/resources.
        • Re:trivial? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Eraser_ (101354) on Monday April 26, 2004 @05:00PM (#8976425)
          Is NetBSD a registered non- or not-for- profit organization? If so, who is to say they didn't get some of the work pro-bono as a tax write off? Offer many hours free in exchange for repayment of real out of pocket expenses and write the rest off as donation to a non-profit.

          Organizations like these have many friends in many places. Who is to say a spouse or friend of a NetBSD developer/PR person didn't write some of these documents in their spare time? Friend of mine traded some internet access and good social engineering for a few hours of lawyer time to draw up some TOS and 1year contracts for the wireless internet he was going to sell to his neighbors.
          • Re:trivial? (Score:2, Informative)

            by bccomm (709680)
            Is NetBSD a registered non- or not-for- profit organization?

            Only recently was it announced, but, yes, it is 501(c)(3)-compliant.
      • Re:trivial? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Monday April 26, 2004 @02:13PM (#8974536) Homepage Journal
        Saves on having to hunt down and kill the jerk that forks NetBSD and calls it NetBSD. This would have saved a lot of hell with MySQL.
    • Re:trivial? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:45PM (#8974219) Homepage Journal
      It's probably taken so long because they didn't want to spend a lot of money on lawyer fees. Cross the right palms with silver, and things happen amazingly quickly. Fail to do so, and they happen amazingly slowly.
    • It is trivial! (Score:5, Informative)

      by eman1961 (642519) on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:55PM (#8974335)
      I have filed my own paperwork on a couple of trademarks, and the total cost is less than $500. If I remember correctly, the cost of the final filing is about $350, which goes to pay an attorney employed at the patent and trademark office. If you are careful, and understand what can be trademarked, and what cannot, it is really rather easy.

      Acquiring such a trademark means that it is somewhat easier to enforce that others do not use the trademark in their own product names.

      • Re:It is trivial! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jd (1658)
        $500 is hardly trivial, compared to the money they must be making. Nobody ever accused *BSD of being a money-spinner. It may be good, but it isn't there to make a profit.

        Then, there's the risk-factor. What, really, is the risk of a competing *BSD distribution taking the name of "NetBSD"? Again, no insult intended, but it's not got the mindshare to be seriously at risk. It's not Rolls Royce, for example.

        Finally, what could the money have been spent on, otherwise? $500 is a week's worth of documenting, or

        • ...perhaps a big risk from other quarters with deep pockets who might think it cute to do so, and might do it through a daisy chian of proxies first to obfuscate who's behind it. Perhaps, pure speculation of course. I can think of a few places to whom 500 clams doesn't even qualify as pocket lint,but the idea of monkey wrenching in advance any ever potential future competitor might seem like making "good business sense", so maybe NetBSD being proactive before the fact of needing a trademark is a good thing
        • Re:It is trivial! (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @03:05PM (#8975068)
          Then, there's the risk-factor. What, really, is the risk of a competing *BSD distribution taking the name of "NetBSD"?

          Someone tried to steal the term "Linux" in 1994 or so, long before anyone heard of it or cared. You can bet it cost Torvolds a lot more money in lawyer fees to trademark a contested term than if he had registered first.

          There's a lot of really important reasons to own a trademark. Without one, forgetting to renew a domain name could be a disaster. There's also hostile code forks, etc etc etc.

          Look at FreeBSD -- it's trademarked, but the trademark is owned by a hostile company and not by FreeBSD. In theory, they could be required to change their name! The reputation cost would be a lot more than a thousand bucks.

          Maybe you are a poor student and $1000 sound like a lot of money, but frankly if any of the NetBSD people have a real job, this isn't financially prohibitive.
          • I'm no poor student, and I've blown a few hundred dollars on an 18th century cookery book, because I felt like it.

            There's a difference, though. The cookery book, I can use. Repeatedly. It also appreciates value with time, so given long enough I'll make the money back.

            I don't see how NetBSD could ever reclaim the money spent, by merit of the name alone. Unlike antiques, NetBSD has no guarantee of increasing in value. Indeed, without something significantly special (eg: OpenBSD's promise of security out o

        • Re:It is trivial! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jhunsake (81920)
          $500 is oh-so-trivial

          Most people can make $500 in a day (eg painting a house). Many people can make $500 in a few hours. And there are still a lot of people that can make $500 in less than an hour. Sure, it may pay a student to do something, but that is hardly an accurate depiction of time-is-money.
          • $500 a day doesn't include a little thing called taxes ... I mean seriously how many people do you know that take home 500 a day (and no I'm not including strippers)?
            • You must live in one of those socialist countries. I just paid a guy $400 a couple weeks ago to do less than one day's painting on my house. I can pretty much assure you he's not going to report, considering I paid him in cash.

              Also, I know quite a few lawyers. Enough said.
              • thats cool but on the whole for most people 500 take home a day is a large amount of money. If you figure in taxes (~40% for this tax bracket) that means you have to make over 800 dollars a day which for a yearly salary would be ~192,000 (4 weeks vacation). Now your talking about a very very small percentage of the population.
      • Nolo Press has a good book [nolo.com] about the process.
    • Re:trivial? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by beebware (149208)
      True, don't you just hate it when companies register trademarks - first Microsoft, now NetBSD - next you'll know Linux will become "evil" [linuxmark.org]. Oh, wait...
    • Filing a Trademark is cheap and easy. Defending a Trademark means that each and every time that somebody violates your trademark you have to take legal action to defend it.

      The first time you don't legally defend your trademark, you lose it.

      So it's cheap to file, very expensive to maintain.
  • How long... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ...till Lindows trys to release LetBSD?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:40PM (#8974169)
    Doesn't the ® (R) symbol signify that the text before is registered ... it sounds like they've registered "NetBSD®" as a trademark ... making it NetBSD®® hehehe
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What would be considered a typical cost to trademark a name? USPTO fee? Does one really need a lawyer? If something trademarked here, what is the cost to trademark it worldwide? Does one need to go to each countries trademark office or can one file with the WTO (world Trade Office) equivalent and do it all in one place?
  • wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hinkey (746112) <hinkey@h[ ]ey.ca ['ink' in gap]> on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:45PM (#8974212) Homepage
    "An official policy on the use of the NetBSD® trademark is currently being drafted and will be made public soon" how can you condem them before you even hear there policy on the use of the trademark?
    • Re:wait (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kenja (541830) on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:49PM (#8974254)
      " how can you condem them before you even hear there policy on the use of the trademark?"

      Its realy very easy, all it takes is a desire to hate somthing. Just like the Linux & Mac haters that have never used the platforms or the Windows haters that think its unchanged since the broken Windows 95 systems they last used.

      • Re:wait (Score:2, Funny)

        by sporty (27564)

        Windows haters that think its unchanged since the broken Windows 95 systems they last used.


        I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad nues but... ;)
      • Re:wait (Score:2, Informative)

        by Lord Kano (13027)
        Its realy very easy, all it takes is a desire to hate somthing. Just like the Linux & Mac haters that have never used the platforms or the

        I am what most people would call a Mac hater, and I have extensive experience with the platform.

        I was a Mac user for 10 years. I know the platform inside and out. I just have become disenchanted.

        My dislike comes from not a position of ignorance, but one of knowledge based dislike.

        LK

    • how can you condem them before you even hear there policy on the use of the trademark?

      Did I miss something ?? Who was condemning them ?? What were you replying to ?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:46PM (#8974225)
    [to the tune of Last Kiss by pearl jam]

    Oh where, oh where is my BSD?
    I just loaded it yesterday.
    It's gone to heaven, so I've got to be good,
    So I can see the OS when I leave this world.

    I'd started to load it in my roommate's Dell,
    the hard drive was taking it pretty well.
    During the load, it crashed the heads,
    the distro was stalled, *BSD was dead.
    I couldn't stop, so I yanked the cord.
    I'll never forget, the sound , oh Lord--
    the screamin' drives, the speaker's blast,
    the painful scream that I-- heard last.

    Oh where, oh where is my *BSD?
    That load took it away from me.
    It's gone to heaven, so I've got to be good,
    So I can see *BSD when I leave this world.

    When I woke up, the sparks were pourin down.
    There were admins standin all around.
    Some fragments of chips gotten in my eyes,
    but somehow I found my *BSD that night.
    I lifted the CD, the devil winked and said,
    "Load me darlin just a little while."
    I held it close, I kissed the label--our last kiss.
    I found the love that i knew i had missed
    well now it's gone, even I loaded it right
    I lost my *BSD and the Dell-- that night.

    Oh where, oh where is my *BSD?
    I tried to load it yesterday.
    It's gone to heaven so I've got to be good,
    So I can see *BSD when I leave this world.

  • by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:47PM (#8974238) Homepage
    Slashdot gets sued for trademark infringement..

    hehe

    Si.
    • The NetBSD core team also intends to sue the Christian faith for trademark defacement caused by portraying their mascot as evil in a series of fictional works.
  • Logo? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Yes, but do they have a logo to go with that trademark yet? (http://www.netbsd.org/Changes/#logo-contest-close d)

  • I mean, frankly, what does this buy them? Anything?

    I'm more puzzled than angered.

  • And the name is owned by one man. Linus Torvalds.
    • I'm part of the group, and I don't run Linux...oh wait...does that mean that I'm ...damn



      "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Konqueror/3.2; FreeBSD) (KHTML, like Gecko)"
      I figured I should mention that before I got modded down as a Windows user!
  • by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Monday April 26, 2004 @01:54PM (#8974312) Homepage

    I hope I'm still in the running [outshine.com]. Anyone else enter? I sure wish I could see my competition.

  • Huh? (Score:2, Funny)

    by jabbadabbadoo (599681)
    They registered ``NetBSD®'' ???

    Oh no, they should have registed ``NetBSD'' instead.

  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Monday April 26, 2004 @02:05PM (#8974440) Journal
    ..understaffed and underqualified. There's probably loads of prior art. I bet there are everything from cereals to tampons already called NetBSD. You mark my words!
  • New Logo Too? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Monday April 26, 2004 @02:09PM (#8974500) Homepage Journal
    How is that process coming along? Now would be a good time for them to release it.
  • by molo (94384) on Monday April 26, 2004 @02:17PM (#8974575) Journal
    I wonder if this is going to effect the Debian GNU/NetBSD [debian.org] and Debian GNU/KNetBSD [debian.org] porting projects. I'm curious to see their use policy.

    -molo
    • by Anonymous Coward
      See http://lists.debian.org/debian-bsd/2003/debian-bsd -200312/msg00098.html and the following discussion...
      • Dude...legalities are so complicated.

        I think Debian GNU/NetBSD says it all - Debian is the distributor, and we have a GNU userland atop NetBSD (analogous to GNU/Linux). I do realize that significant parts of NetBSD would have been wiped out, but, hey, it's open source, right?

        As for trademark infringement, I suppose the NetBSD foundation would have to defend its mark in order to keep the rights, but they could grant Debian permission to use the mark, right?

        Alternatively, the Debian folks could invent a co
  • by Goo.cc (687626) * on Monday April 26, 2004 @02:30PM (#8974730)
    I think that I am going to rush out and trademark "BSD Is Dying", that way I prevent usage of that term on troll /. posts! Patent office, here I come!
  • Isn't this nice... I can't wait for the NetBSD trademark certification process. Now anything based on NetBSD has to be called:

    The NetBSD-like, Unix-Like, OS

  • by bfg9000 (726447) on Monday April 26, 2004 @04:14PM (#8975843) Homepage Journal
    Damn®. Being Politically Correct®" and using all those Godawful Stupid Symbols® is F**king Irritating®.
  • by markhb (11721) on Monday April 26, 2004 @04:34PM (#8976116) Journal
    Add it to the license!
    3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement: This product includes software developed and originally released under the NetBSD® trademark.
    ;-)
  • Hellboy should be careful how he trademarks himself. ;-)

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