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More SCO Trademark and SCOForum News
Saturday, July 31 2004 @ 05:36 AM EDT

If you search for "SCO" on Google, this is what you find as their listing:

The SCO Group, Inc. | The Power of UNIX®
Click Here For SCOoffice Server 4.1 Details, SCOoffice Server 4.1 — Email
and Collaboration SCOoffice Server 4.1 combines security and reliability with ...
www.sco.com/ - 23k - Jul 29, 2004

"The Power of UNIX®"? What do you think? You think there may be another trademark popping up? I ran to the USPTO.gov site, and my search didn't find any such trademark. That means one of two things. Either it's too new to be in the database yet, or I didn't search correctly. Also, it could be that they are using UNIX as a trademark, and the rest just as a phrase. Since I have no idea which, I'm just posting it here so other eyeballs, like at The Open Group, will be aware, since they've already said they will be objecting to SCO's attempt to trademark UNIX SYSTEMS LABORATORIES.

Even if SCO could beat the Open Group, I still don't know if they could get this phrase as a trademark, even if that turns out to be their intent, because Apple has used the phrase also, and according to Wayback, they've been using the phrase "The Power of Unix" since at least December of 2002. I feel a Unix food fight coming on. A bigger one, I should say, because the Open Group and Apple have been boxing over Unix and trademarks for a while. Apple claimed their use is generic, that they're not using it as a trademark, and that means they'd find it hard to go against SCO. Their position is that no one can trademark Unix, because it is a generic term.

UPDATE: The parties have signed a stipulation to stay proceedings because they are working out a settlement.

That can happen to trademarks, like aspirin and linoleum, but only if a court says so. But even if that happened and no one could trademark UNIX, they could still trademark the phrase "The Power of UNIX". And using it first in commerce counts, even if you have not registered it with the USPTO.

It'd be a crying shame, though, if UNIX ended up meaning nothing in particular. UNIX is supposed to mean something, that the software meets a certain standard, according to the Open Group. It's like champagne. If your bubbly white wine isn't from grapes from Champagne, France, you only get to call it sparkling wine or some such in the EU, because although it isn't technically a trademark, it is protected, and champagne means it really is from Champagne and made a certain way. But the point is, if Apple wins, SCO will not be able to hold on to any trademarks on the UNIX name. And if the Open Group wins, they still probably won't, if the Open Group has anything to say about it, and they do.

The funny thing is, if you click on the link and go to the SCO site, there is no phrase "The Power of UNIX" visible on the page, so, I wondered, are they using a trademark as a search term? As metadata? I took a look at the source of the page, and what do you know? There it is, although I've altered the html to brackets so you can see it:

[html] [head] [title]The SCO Group, Inc. | The Power of UNIX[/title]
[meta name=description content="The SCO Group, Inc. — Nasdaq: SCOX"]
[meta name=keywords content="unix, scooffice server, scox, sco unixware, sco openserver"]
[meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"]
[meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE"]

If you look at the source of their SCOForum Selected Sponsors page, you'll find the same phrase, "The Power of UNIX". "Selected Sponsors" means the ones willing to go public? HP, still with one foot firmly planted on every side, will be there once again.

It looks like SCO first started using the phrase"The Power of UNIX" in mid-June:

"'To help resellers push the new offerings into the marketplace, The SCO Group also announced on Tuesday rebate programs for partners and marketing development funds for premier partners as well as co-branding materials that highlight the "Power of Unix,"' The SCO Group said."

So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The Power of UNIX. Woops. The Power of UNIX®? The question is, did they get permission from The Open Group to use this phrase? Do they need to? To trademark it, if they did or plan to? As for the trademark on UNIX SYSTEMS LABORATORIES, SCO wouldn't tell Maureen O'Gara what it was for. That's unusual, because I've formed the impression it normally tells her everything it wants the world to hear.

SCOForum News

I thought a certain Mr. Enderle was supposed to be giving the keynote address at SCOForum on the theme of how SCO can still beat IBM in the courtroom. But according to this article, there will be two keynotes, one by McBride ("discussing 'SCO: past, present, and future' and briefings on SCO's product roadmap") and one will be given by Chris Sontag (on "Protecting SCO's Intellectual Property . . . which aims to persuade Linux users to buy a licence.").

No doubt that will be a treat. How often has the world gotten to hear Darl McBride and Chris Sontag speak about SCO and how they'd like Linux users to buy a license? Of course, they've been on hiatus for a while, keeping mighty quiet. So maybe it's like Hollywood couples who live together and then when they decide to get married, separate for a bit, so the honeymoon will seem fresh and new.

Mr. Enderle is still listed on the schedule, though, so it appears that there will be lots of keynotes. Maybe someone will give a keynote about how SCO plans to win the legal battle over the new trademark(s). It's all about UNIX this year:

"'The main theme at this year's SCO Forum event will be around the 25th anniversary of Unix on the Intel/AMD platform,' said Stowell.

"'Obviously, SCO has been squarely focused on that environment since its beginning and we will be taking a look at the past, present and future of Unix computing on Intel/AMD.'

"Stowell said that the company will be focusing on product news around the next release of SCO OpenServer (code-named Legend), the release of its email and collaboration product SCOoffice Server, and 'a unique concept for embracing the Unix developer community around the SCO Unix platforms'."

This company has been "squarely focused" on UNIX "since its beginnings"? What about Caldera? You know, the 100% pure Linux company?

SCO now reminds me of my favorite step-aunt. She changed her name three times. I mean her *first* name, although she had three husbands too and buried them all, getting richer with each transaction. She'd announce her new name to the family, and we all were supposed to call her by her new name from that day forward. No reason. Just, here's my new name. It was always jarring, and the family would lift their eyebrows and do their level best to remember.

Her life story, the one she told new friends, had increasingly creative elements too, to put it delicately. Her manner of speaking became more and more upper class, and her style did too, especially after she became an art patroness. I didn't care, because she was interesting, and warm, and very nice to me, and she took me to museums and explained lots of fascinating details to me. But it was odd, and being a straightforward type of person, I never could get the hang of the new names and tended to revert to the original, which upset her.

After her third husband died, her son set her up on a date with a rich doctor, but she refused to be bothered with him after the first date. She told me it was because he was boring. He was handsome and rich, definitely not drawbacks in the world according to an Aunti Mame, but he didn't know a Picasso from a pick-axe, and she couldn't imagine life with him. Instead, she travelled with friends to places like Cambodia and Thailand, and she would come back with unusual art objects, one of which I was given to remember her by. The wallpaper in her dining room was from China, and it had designs of bamboo trees, with the bark done in gold leaf. When she found out she had terminal cancer, instead of boohooing, she went to visit Leningrad, because there was some medieval religious art there she had always wanted to see. She didn't tell the family she had cancer, except for me and her son, and we were sworn to secrecy.

I actually used to call her my Auntie Mame, because she just kept reinventing herself in flamboyant ways. She liked that and she would always smile. I didn't tell her that I also called her that because it was hard to remember sometimes what the current name she wanted us to use was. She was an intelligent and accomplished self-made woman who decided at some point she didn't want to be who she really was any more.

Her funeral was a riot, because all kinds of people showed up and told stories about wild weekends in Milan with her and such that made the family's hair stand on end. When I walked out of the restaurant with her only son, after the long day was over, he said to me a little wistfully, "Well, I always knew my mother had fun. I just never knew how much fun." The thing is, at the memorial, everyone used different names when talking about her, and in a way it was a metaphor, because in the end no one really knew who she was. Those who knew her only at the end certainly knew only part of the story. Those of us who knew her from the beginning found out that night that while we knew all the names, we didn't know all there was to know. So, who really was she? When I talked about her after her death, I only used her real name, the one she had when I first knew her, and it was a relief. Then, last week, my uncle told me that actually she had a fourth name, the one she was born with. She changed it when she left home as a young woman.

As I see SCO trying to morph, it makes me think of my aunt. I guess poor SCO, like my Auntie Mame, has decided it just doesn't want to be Caldera any more and would like us to forget all about that true history, so it can reinvent itself at will. OK. We'll do our best, at least when they're around, so as not to hurt their feelings, but I do know they were Caldera, and they sold Linux under the GPL.


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