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11.08.13

When it Comes to Trademarks, Canonical is Even Worse Than Novell

Posted in Ubuntu at 1:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novellsoft

Summary: Canonical uses dubious trademarks in dubious ways in order to silence critics

BACK in 2007 we wrote about the possibility that Novell might try to use trademarks in order to silence "Boycott Novell". Despite the fact that some Novell employees abused us (as SCO employees had done in Groklaw), it never went as far as using legal threats (intended to discourage or scare the critics). For that sort of tactless move to become reality one can always count on privacy offender Canonical. It is not unprecedented.

According to this article from a part-time Microsoft booster, “Canonical “abused trademark law” to target a site critical of Ubuntu privacy,” adding to its name-calling against critics (Mark Shuttleworth just collectively referred to them as “trolls”).

Remember that Canonical went after derivatives of Ubuntu — using trademarks to force renames — and later used its PR-esque staff (no need to name names) in order to cover this up because publicity generated by these moves was largely very negative. Canonical clearly hasn’t learned its lessons.

Canonical seriously needs some fixing. But we might not be able to say so because Canonical would go after us. Canonical Canonical Canonical Canonical Canonical Canonical. Sue us.

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3 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    November 9, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Gravatar

    You’d think that a company that big would have someone on staff to work with the community and smooth things out when they need it. Working pro-actively to address their problems would be far better than jumping into threats of legal action. The site’s use of the trademark seems fine, it is nominative use, but then IANAL. However, the nastiness in the letter, veiled in polite words, distracts from the privacy concerns the distro has introduced. The site FixUbuntu has a valid point about user privacy. Attacking and name calling might distract some from that, but won’t fix the problem.

  2. Dr. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 9, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Gravatar

    There are more articles about this now.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131107/17583725174/disappointing-to-see-canonical-act-like-trademark-bully-over-ubuntu.shtml http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/11/fixubuntu/

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    Apparently there has been a weak apology of sorts offered:

    http://www.muktware.com/2013/11/ubuntus-mark-shuttleworth-apologizes-tea-party-remark-fixubuntu-take-notice/15710

    I’m not sure where he gets Mir from in all that. I’ve seen people asking for clarification of Canonical’s goals and direction with Mir but he still seems to dismiss even those questions as “non-technical” critique.

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