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Excessive Linux Domain Grabbing



As a result of the trademark charge by the trademark holder to Asterix and Obelix against my site MobiliX (Unix on Mobile Devices) 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.

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 you may even get computer generated name permutations. Here are some examples:

  • linuxlaptop.com
  • linuxlaptop.org
  • linuxlaptop.net
  • linuxonlaptop.com
  • linuxonlaptops.com
  • linux-notebook.com
  • linux-notebooks.com
  • linux-notebook.org
  • linux-notebooks.net
  • linuxnotebook.com
  • linuxnotebooks.com
  • golinux.com
  • golinux.org
  • linuxmobile.com
  • linuxmobile.net

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 50,000USD. 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 and became available for sale. Coincidence?

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© Werner Heuser 1997-2014 · http://tuxmobil.org/domain_grabbing.html · last change Mon Nov 12 2007