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German IT firm defends claim to Linux trademark

September 20, 1999
Web posted at: 10:14 a.m. EDT (1414 GMT)

by Mary Lisbeth D'Amico

From...
Network World Fusion
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(IDG) -- Facing a storm of criticism from the open-source community, a Hamburg, Germany IT vendor has defended his move to take out a claim to the name Linux with the German patent office.

Roy Boldt yesterday confirmed that his systems integration company, Channel One GmbH, has put in a patent claim for the name of the open-source operating system, but said his intentions were good.

"We have partly been accused of trying to steal the name Linux or to create some opportunity for ourselves," Boldt says. "We at Channel One are friends of the Linux-movement and would never think of gaining profit from it in any form that is not coming to us."

The move to patent the name Linux in Germany, reported earlier this week in the German technology magazine C'T, has caused a stir among the open-source software community.

Boldt maintains that he did so to prevent another company with commercial intentions from grabbing the name, after hearing rumors that another company was planning to do so.

"At first, we couldn't believe, that the name Linux is not patent-protected in Germany," Boldt says. When he found out it wasn't, he quickly decided to submit a patent claim "to make sure that not just anyone with commercial intentions does the same thing."

Linux creator Linus Torvalds retains sole rights to the name of the operating system, according to the German Linux Association. Rainer Feldkamp, the German Linux Association's patent lawyer, who also represents Torvalds interests in Europe, told C'T that any such claim to patent the name Linux is thus invalid.

Feldkamp could be immediately reached for comment.


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