This is a read-only archive. Find the latest Linux articles, documentation, and answers at the new!

Re(2): Symantec asks G4L to stop infringing on Ghost name

Posted by: Jeremy Akers on October 06, 2007 05:49 PM
"next time you use red ink to write the "+" sign, don't. You are infringing a Red Cross patent, trademark, whatever."

No, it's not that simple. Context matters. If you were using it as a symbol to to entice people to donate money to you, then you would be clearly violating it. If you're just putting a plus sign next to a number on a spreadsheet, it's not violating anything.

You should do your research before you make such bold statements.

Creating a product that performs the same job as another product, and then naming it such that it uses the same name as the competing product, is a clear violation of that trademark. Now, if 'Ghost for Linux' was a FPS game that featured a ghost that goes around killing things, this probably would not be an issue. The context around the use of the trademarked word/phrase is what really matters. A trademark is registered only to a specific set of goods or services. It doesn't protect all uses of the word or phrase.

This is not to say that I agree with what's happening, but in general this is how trademark law should and does work. No-one is (seriously) contesting that. What's in contest here, is whether 'GHOST' is a valid trademark. According to wikipedia:

"The name Ghost originated as an acronym for "General Hardware-Oriented System Transfer"."

A good description of what can and can not be considered a valid trademark can be found at:

Now, if the G4L author had the money to pay for a good lawyer, he could probably fight this and he might win. However, he doesn't have the money for one, so he'll probably just have to change his name and move on. It's not really worth the hassle of fighting it.


Return to Symantec asks G4L to stop infringing on Ghost name