excessive Linux domain grabbing

Werner Heuser Werner.Heuser at web.de
Thu May 1 12:24:14 UTC 2003


as a result of the trademark charge by the trademark holder
to Asterix and Obelix against my site MobiliX (UniX on
Mobile Devices) (see http://tuxmobil.org/mobilix_asterix.html )
I had to withdraw the domain mobilix.org in February 2003.

Looking for a new name I found many websites which expressed
Linux and included words for mobility in their domain names.

Some of these websites do not seem to offer any
content related to Linux.  Often their names are just
variations of the famous site Linux-on-Laptops by
Kenneth E. Harker. (see http://linux-on-laptops.com )

You can find domains which simply include keywords
of the plural form or replace the word laptop with
"notebook". Some just add "mobile" attributes. 
At CheckDomain http://checkdomain.com you may
even get computer generated name permutations.

Here are some examples:







Note: you can use the command "whois" to reveal
the owner of a domain, eg "whois tuxmobil.org".

I do not link to those other sites of
similar names to avoid generating traffic to them.

Almost all of these sites seem to be for sale. One of 
these sites, linuxnotebooks.com, is explicitly for sale -
for at least USD50,000. Linus Torvalds - the
owner of the trademark Linux - has not put much restrictions
on the usage of the trademark, though I doubt that he
would give his permission for this kind of business.

Then I have done a reseach for registered Linux trademarks at
the OAMI Community Trademark Consultation Service (European trademarks)
There are more than 40 entries related to Linux. For example the
trademark PalmLinux was registered by Lineo. And as you
may have guessed already this trademark is under siege, too. Palm has
asked the registration authority to withdraw this entry.

I suppose this kind of domain grabbing might happen 
to other Linux sites, too.

Domain grabbing makes it difficult for new Linux projects
to choose an appropriate name. Especially when they
choose a Linux name to avoid trademark trouble
because Linux is a registered trademark already.
However just recently a German lawyer charged Linus to withdraw
his trademark Linux (at least from some trademark classes),
but in my humble opinion this is nothing than a marketing 
trick to gain publicity for the lawyer.

I finally decided to register TuxMobil.org (and some similar ones)
myself.  I announced the switch from MobiliX.org to TuxMobil.org
on February 20th - and on the very next day (February 21st)
the domain tuxmobil.NET was registered - by someone else.

Nevertheless the withdrawal of the domain MobiliX will
not last forever hopefully. Together with my lawyers
Jaschinski, Biere and Brexl - JBB (Berlin, Germany) http://jbb.de
and Prof. Dr. Kraemer I am preparing an appeal 
to the highest German civil court,
the Bundesgerichtshof. This document will be finished
at May 27th 2003.

This article and updated issues are online at


|=| Werner Heuser = Keplerstr. 11A = D-10589 Berlin = Germany
|=| <wehe at tuxmobil.org>     T. 0049 - (0)30 - 349 53 86
|=| http://TuxMobil.org        UniX on Mobile Systems: HOWTOs,Software
|*| This is no time for phony rhetoric -- Lou Reed

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