Company Reportedly Withdraws Linux Trademark Claim

A software integration company that recently registered the name Linux as a trademark with German patent authorities, has now reportedly made moves to withdraw the request.

Hamburg-based Channel One GmbH is in the process of having its claim to the name Linux in Germany deleted, according to Achim Cloer, the chairman of Germany's Linux Association, a user group. The German Linux Association's lawyer, Rainer Feldkamp, has been in touch with Channel One founder Roy Boldt about withdrawing the registration, Cloer said. Feldkamp also represents the interests of Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, in Europe.

Channel One last week confirmed that it had put in a claim for the name Linux with German patent authorities, but said it only did so to prevent a less well-intentioned company from registering rights to the name of the open-source operating system. [See "German IT Firm Defends Claim to Linux Trademark," Sept. 17.]The Linux name, however, is not available for trademarking, since Torvalds has sole rights to it, according to Cloer.

Neither Boldt nor Feldkamp could be directly reached for comment.

Asked how a company could reserve rights to a name which is not available, Cloer said that patent authorities are not obliged to check such things.

"This was half-baked and bungled," he said. Usually the lawyers who put in such a claim check out whether the name is even available for trademarking, he said. For that reason, Cloer said, he doubts that Boldt really had noble intentions in registering the claim.

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