Torvalds acts on Linux trademark in Oz

Linux Australia Inc takes on Linux Australia Pty Ltd

When Linus Torvalds gets involved, the world usually listens. The Linux world, at least.

So when companies in Australia began to apply the term "Linux" willy-nilly to mean something completely different to what the rest of the world means by "Linux," and even started trademarking company names including the word, the non-profit organisation devoted to keeping Australian Linux sacrosanct, Linux Australia Inc, turned to the man who in fact has the unique rights to the term "Linux" worldwide.

Specifically, a private company called "Linux Australia Pty Ltd." last year lodged an official trademark application its name with IP Australia. It has not yet been approved, however.

Torvalds should have no difficulty, experts say, demonstrating that his use of the word "Linux" has continued for longer than any of the competing would-be Australian trademarks seeking to bear the name.

Torvalds has defended his common-law rights to "Linux" before, back in 1996-7 when a gentleman from the Boston area by the name of William R. Della Croce registered it as a trademark in order to extract 10% royalties on sales from businesses marketing Linux products.

He won that case. Ever since the world has become increasingly familiar with the following sentence: "LINUX is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds."

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