Trademarks vs. Open Source: SuSE Enjoined

According to a
at ZDNet (earlier story at
heise online),
SuSE has
been enjoined by a German court from distributing its distribution in
Germany, apparently because the court decided that the
painting program Krayon
violates the anonymous plaintiff's trademark (the article says
copyright) in Crayon. Fortunately, boxes already shipped to stores appear not to be
affected. One cannot know for sure who is behind
this, but the rumour mill is placing bets on
CRAYON, a German website which sells
CDs with cartoons and other images.
This follows not long after another Germany-centered dispute
over the KOffice application
Kontour (f/k/a KIllustrator),
an Adobe lawyer claimed violated
Adobe's trademark in Illustrator. Any German lawyer care to explain
why an anonymous plaintiff is permitted to get an
injunction, and how trademark law can be violated when it is quite
difficult to see any potential for confusion? Update, Wednesday
January 09, @10:23AM:
A more recent heise online story
reveals that the trademark holder is Seidel Softwareservice, which
recently spun off the CRAYON website, and while Krayon in fact was not included
on the SuSE 7.3 CDs, apparently its menu entry was. It also raises the
obvious point about the chilling effect actions like this might have on
the desire of Linux distributions to include a large number of software
packages on a CD. Update, Thursday
January 10, @01:10AM:
SuSE has announced that the injunction has been removed (see also the heise online story), apparently without having to pay any license fees to the plaintiff.


Read this (Threshold: 5):

There are some comments about the laywer called Gravenreuth - apparently he is a

Here is a quote:
"I don't know how many of you are aware of this, but this Gravenreuth guy, the attorney, is one of the most hated men in the German IT scene. He has been going to court over cases like these for at least ten years."

By Joergen Ramskov at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

I can confirm that he is hated, even outside of Germany.

By bg at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

"Gravenreuth" the KDE drawing application. The put the story of Gravenreuth in the about box. Don't call him an asshole or liable him just describe his activities and how it lead to the name change. Leave users to conclude how he has wasted taxpayers dollars ...

By NameSuggesterEngine at Sat, 2002/01/12 - 6:00am

So, once the program was renamed from KImageShop to Krayo. Now this must happen again ?

By art at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

On Tuesday, July 03, at 05:40 PM 'ac' wrote this on dot.kde.org:
>Adobe is correct to defend its trademark. The KDE project has to come up with better names, like they already did with Krayon, etc.<

On Tuesday, July 03, at 08:18 PM 'antialias' wrote this on dot.kde.org:
>Don't tell me we can't face the same problem if Krayon Computers, Krayon Technologies or Krayon Systems and Design Company decide to sue KDE because of using the name Krayon.<

By antialias at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

Unfortunately, I was right :(

By antialias at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

Maybe a good solution for problems like this and the general confusion of users would be to stop inventing stupid names for software.
If you write a paint program, then just call it 'KDE Paint Program' or maybe KPaint, and a) you can be pretty sure that no one will sue you and b) everybody knows what your program does.

Companies invent names because they have to, to differentiate themselves from their competition, to get a well-known brand name, and they usually back it up with a large marketing budget. KDE doesn't and I am pretty sure that there are many apps out there that won't be used because the users don't know what they are good for. Think of Krayon, Noatun, Keystone, Kontour, Kate, Quanta, Kit, Kivio, Kugar... many users may have the app that they need on their harddisk and they won't even notice it. And so do i - 1 week ago I didn't know what Krayon is good for, and I still don't know what Kugar is.

(you can, of course, still use these names internally, for CVS and so on; you have to in order to prevent nameclashes)

By AC at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

you are so right. we should just name it for it does. like if i have an illustration program i should call it killustrator! oh. wait. damn.


as for the "i have no idea what that program does because the name doesn't enlighten me" problem, KDE3's KMenu will be a bit more helpful in that area.

By Aaron J. Seigo at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

> KDE3's KMenu

Well this was supposed to be solved a long time ago. Matthias Ettrich's idea was that what was shown in the KMenu should be something descriptive and *not* the binary name in the first place.

Now it seems people have disregarded this advice and instead added more useless visual clutter to KDE? Just an impression I get, I haven't actually checked.


By Navindra Umanee at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

> KMenu should be something descriptive and *not* the binary name in the first place.

hmm..I always hate it when I have this package called X, which I cannot find in my menu because it is called Y. And then, if is happens to hang, I cannot kill -9 it because name X nor Y shows up when I run ksysguard (or any other process viewer). Finnaly (after killing half my desktop) I find out that the app was, logically ofcourse, called Z.

I want to know what I am running, and the name should be the same _everywere_. If we want descriptional menus (wich is good) we should also want also discriptional names in packages and processes.


By Danny at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

What's wrong with the Konqueror example? "Konqueror Web Browser", for example?
Besides if you know the binary name, you should do "Alt-F2 binaryname" :-)

Maybe ksysguard can be hacked to do what you want, but a bit tough...

By Navindra Umanee at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

Yeah, I thought KIllustrator was a good name... And I don't see any bone head lawyer raising issues again KPaint... Hmm, looks a bit much like MS Paint to me!!! I think the real issue is that this is allowed in Germany...

By Ill Logik at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

> 1 week ago I didn't know what Krayon is good for

Of course you didn't, Krayon is NOT released !

By David Faure at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

I read the recent reports of the lawsuit and felt a slight pang of guilt. It's partly my fault, since I "half-kiddingly" suggested Krayon originally as a new name for KImageShop in the kimageshop mailing list.

I hope Suse isn't mad at me ;)

By Sean Pecor at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

What speaks more to you ? KFM, or Konqueror ? Which name do you reasily remember among the two ?
KFM was "KDE File Manager", just what you suggest above.
Konqueror is quite known now, as being a good web browser.
If it was still named KFM, nobody would know about it (except for long-time KDE users).

By David Faure at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

> What speaks more to you ? KFM, or Konqueror ?

KFM is bad as well. "File Manager" or "Web Browser" would more obvious to the newbie. Because Konqueror is used so often this is just the name that is the easiest to learn. But I can remember the time a year ago, when I was still using Gnome, that Konqueror was 'one of the programs starting with K' and I had no idea what it was. Even when somebody showed me KDE 2.0 later with Konqueror in the file manager mode I had no idea that it was also a web browser.

By AC at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

My KDE menu lists "Konqueror Web Browser" and "Konqueror File Browser". Seems perfectly acceptable to me...

By Navindra Umanee at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

Yes, more or less. My room mate would probably ask me whether a "Konqueror" web browser is different from a normal web browser, but at least you get an idea what it is.

By AC at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

It's only a simple convention that will take a few seconds to get used to, I'd say. You have to assume at least a certain amount of intelligence from the user.

By Navindra Umanee at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

That's the wrong approach - most users don't want to think or even discover their desktop or find out why this thing is called "Konqueror". They only want to get the latest sport news on the ESPN web site.

By AC at Fri, 2002/01/11 - 6:00am

What's ESPN web site?

Sorry - you asked for it!

By Navindra Umanee at Fri, 2002/01/11 - 6:00am

> If you write a paint program, then just call it 'KDE Paint Program' or maybe KPaint, and a) you can be pretty sure that no one will sue you and b)everybody knows what your program does.

Well, Linux and KDE were always a matter of choice. There will always be more than one paint program for KDE out there. How should the author call their programs? KPaint 1, KPaint 2, KPaint 3,.....?
So you just have to invent a name that might not be directly related to its functionality.

By Christian Loose at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

Is is then time to then rename Linux, GNU, apache, mutt, mozilla,
anaconda, amanda, and all the others?

By GL at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

Program names that don't mean anything aren't just limited to KDE though... these ones either don't mean anything at all or don't relate whatsoever to their purpose...

Microsoft Visio - Diagramming software
Microsoft Excel - Spreadsheet Software
Microsoft Access - Database software
Opera - Web Browser
Macromedia Dreamweaver - HTML editor
Macromedia Fireworks - graphics program
Macromedia Flash - animation software
Adobe Acrobat - PDF viewer
Adove GoLive - HTML editor

I could go on for hours but I think I'll stop right there...

By Chris Hope at Tue, 2002/12/10 - 6:00am

Maybe it will just make them think twice abour opening offices in Germany. Perhaps being content with exporting to the country is wise advice. After all, as long as you are in Europe, you won't have any problems with the borders.

This could be good news for Linux users in france. :-)

By Jérôme Loisel at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

look at www.crayon.de, seems like everything is settled and the preliminary injunction is over.

By harryF at Wed, 2002/01/09 - 6:00am

Good news, really! So this firm is obviously not as crazy as Symicron (the most (in)famous client of Gravenreuth).
I don't know what you are going to do now, but I'm going to write an email to Crayon, telling them (politely) why this wasn't a good idea in the first place.


By Guido at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

If KDE is truly concerned about chilling effects, then it should drop its own trademarking practices.

I was a website owner have been approached about KDE trademarks in the past.

Let's be consistent.

By Neil Stevens at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

> If KDE is truly concerned about chilling effects, then it should drop its own trademarking practices.

Unfortunately we can't do this because else we had no legal means to stop evil people from abusing "KDE". It's the same with "Linux". It's a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. If you want to know why have a look at this:

http://www.linux10.org/history/ (search for "trademark").

The same could happen to us if "KDE" wasn't already a registered trademark.

By Ingo Klöcker at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

From what I remember from the last time, German law is somewhat different wrt copyright infringement. In Germany, _any_laywer_ and _independantly_ sue for copyright infringement without consulting the owner of the copyright. Several law firms subsist on making frivioulous infringement lawsuits and then trying to extort settlement money from the accused or payment from the copyright holder. This is likely going to be tossed into the gutter, just like the Kontour suit (which was _not_ authorized by Adobe IIRC) didn't seem to generate anything other than a name change (no settlement fees/fines).

By Raven667 at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

KIllustrator is a fine name, and all Adobe products prefixes 'Adobe XXX' like "Adobe Acrobat Reader", So if KDE has "KDE's Acrobat Reader", it should not be a problem for Adobe.

I Wonder why Microsoft is not Suing other office suites which are named 'Office' like StarOffice, KOffice, OpenOffice since these sounds more like Microsoft Office?

This is all BillShit or KBillShit ;)

By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

Is Krayon not under development anymore? The Heise News says something like this.

By Norbert at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am