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LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 23, 2013
An "enum" for Python 3
An unexpected perf feature
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
Python trademark at risk in Europe
Posted Feb 17, 2013 17:29 UTC (Sun) by pboddie (subscriber, #50784)
So, if I were running a company called "Paul's Python Hosting" or had a product of that name, even though everyone in the target audience for my product (and the majority of potential hosting customers) would realise that the product involves hosting for software and services written using the Python programming language, I might be told to lose the "Python" from the name because some people might mix it up with a particular company's products (that as far as I know are not even available yet and certainly haven't been available globally for over twenty years).
Being told not to use a name that is widely known and commonly associated with a specific technology when describing that technology would certainly be an injustice, although it obviously wouldn't stop people using the technology or even the name in many other contexts. However, I am reminded of the much more blatant injustice of the MobiliX case (http://tuxmobil.org/mobilix_asterix.htm) where a trademark holder was (and maybe still is) attempting to assert ownership of a class of names, not just one.
Posted Feb 18, 2013 16:06 UTC (Mon) by Wol (guest, #4433)
But they need to ask a court to force you. And these people would lose fair and square. All the Python people would need to do is produce a couple of documents from back in the day in 1995 or whenever, and the Judge would toss the trademark as invalid. Prior use trumps registration! Which is why, with all the software I've tried to start, I always stick a (TM) after the name. It's not a formal registration, but it's a stake in the ground making a claim. And that stake WILL void any formal claim made later by someone else.
The problem is (admittedly to a far lesser extent than in the US) that this whole mess causes uncertainty and expense. Legally, it's extremely clear cut. If Python was using that name before the trademark was registered, then it's up to the trademark holder to prove that they were using it earlier still.
I personally couldn't, but someone could set up a new burger bar called McDonalds and there's nothing the big burger chain could do about it - AS LONG AS the guy setting it up was called McDonald (and hadn't changed his name by deed poll, as this would be seen as an end-run round the rules).
Posted Feb 22, 2013 13:28 UTC (Fri) by jschrod (subscriber, #1646)
I don't think so. According to http://www.wipo.int/madrid/en/faq/trademarks.html#P41_1812
> In countries which have a legal system based on common law, “prior use” is generally sufficient for claiming rights over a given trademark in case of dispute. In civil law countries, however, this is usually not the case.
Europe has many civil law countries.
Posted Feb 24, 2013 12:39 UTC (Sun) by Jandar (subscriber, #85683)
I didn't research but hope civil law countries are in the majority. Judges making case law seems to be a major violation of the principle of separation of powers.
Posted Feb 24, 2013 16:33 UTC (Sun) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784)
Posted Mar 1, 2013 1:47 UTC (Fri) by Wol (guest, #4433)
As for Common Law, it is NOT "Judges inventing case law". It comes from Englands "Courts of Equity" which, in turn, looks like it comes from the Judaic Judges. Read the Book of Judges, which describes Jewish life before their first King, Saul.
The Courts of Equity settled civil disputes between citizens. And before the reforms in Dickensian times (is it Great Expectations?), there was no case law - every dispute was settled "on the merits" based on the prejudices of the Judge and no reference (much) to anything else.
Statute law over-rides case law, in any case. And actually, there really is in law something called "time immemorial". It's the law as it was before the system of statute law was set up in 1200 and something (Magna Carta and all that). In other words, Common Law.
Like everything else, Common Law can be a good thing, or a bad thing. When you have sensible Judges able to use their discretion, it works well (like in the UK). When you have Judges hidebound by precedent and pretty much forbidden from using their judgement and common sense (like in the US) it's a mess.
From a common-law viewpoint, civil law looks an awful mess and I'm glad we don't have it ...
Posted Mar 1, 2013 7:56 UTC (Fri) by anselm (subscriber, #2796)
Civil law was, I believe, invented by Napoleon.
Civil law actually goes back to the Romans, plus medieval influences. Napoleon promulgated a set of laws called the Code Civil, which is generally seen as an embodiment of the ideas of civil law, but not as the origin of these ideas.
Posted Mar 1, 2013 13:24 UTC (Fri) by Jonno (subscriber, #49613)
To my knowledge the first one of those was the Code Civil by Napoleon, marking it the first civil law system, as the term is understood today.
Posted Mar 1, 2013 16:32 UTC (Fri) by jwakely (subscriber, #60262)
(Or "what have the Nova Romans ever done for us?")
Posted Mar 1, 2013 9:47 UTC (Fri) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784)
Posted Mar 1, 2013 18:09 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
Posted Mar 1, 2013 19:11 UTC (Fri) by hummassa (subscriber, #307)
Posted Mar 1, 2013 20:27 UTC (Fri) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784)
Posted Mar 1, 2013 21:14 UTC (Fri) by hummassa (subscriber, #307)
I apologize, especially to nix, but to other people on the thread too.
IOW, nix is absolutely right.
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