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The ssh vs. OpenSSH Trademark Battle, Next Round

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the your-cooperation-is-appreciated-and-expected dept.

Encryption 252

If you are following the flap over the use of the letters Ess, Ess and Aitch in product names -- SSH Communications Security Corporation has asked the OpenSSH project to stop using those letters in the name of their software -- a story on NewsForge adds more details. If you didn't catch it then, here's yesterday's NewsForge article as well. Good thing nobody is enforcing a trademark on "telnet," eh?

My favorite tidbit from the article is this: "[OpenBSD and OpenSSH Developer Theo] de Raadt cites U.S. trademark law that requires owners of trademarks to notify violators immediately ... de Raadt argues that Ylönen would have to be living under a rock not to be aware of OpenSSH before now. OpenSSH, released in December 1999 and in use before that, was used by more than 17% of all SSH users earlier this month, according to a study published on the University of Alberta Web site." Besides that, the story does a great job of listing other people whose products including "SSH" in their names have been left blissfully alone, making it seem that OpenSSH is getting what can only be called special treatment.

Of interest: here is a link to a page at openssh.com showing the legal papers received and scanned by members of the OpenSSH project, including the trademark application in question, showing an entirely lowercased "ssh" as the applied-for mark.

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Re:Compromise (1)

gbgbgbg (313744) | more than 13 years ago | (#428099)

compromise... fuck that... lets call up Vince McMahon of the motherfucking WWF and XFL... we'll get Ylonen in one corner, and de Raalt in the other, and let the two of 'em bitch-slap each other on pay-per-view. All the proceedes can go to the US Patent and Trademark Office, since their lack of funding is quite apparent. If we charge admission to the arena, that money should go to all the fucking "starving" lawyers who have nothing better to do than bring trivial lawsuits to court.

Re:Not only is this dumb... (1)

gbgbgbg (313744) | more than 13 years ago | (#428103)

Not to mention that in Florida there is nothing to prevent a bunch of dumbasses from voting, becoming governor, becoming the state attorney general, whatever.

Re:Compromise (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#428104)

A man who worked hard to get widespread usage of a protocol by making it freely available is now trying to stuff the shit back in the horse. Sorry it doesn't work that way.

Well, at least, it shouldn't work that way. Fraunhofer is doing the exact same thing with mp3. The problem is that there needs to be a distinct line drawn between specifications and products. You shouldn't be able to trademark a specification (such as the SSH protocol).

Re:Are these words also banned? (1)

gbgbgbg (313744) | more than 13 years ago | (#428105)

you have got to be the funniest, most clever motherfucker that there has ever been.

please die.
soon.
really
I'm not kidding.

lets not have a double standard (1)

deft (253558) | more than 13 years ago | (#428107)

I've had a rely to my post saying that it was dirty of SSH to wait as long as it did to enforce its trademark (my post says theres no expiration on the right to prosecute, there shouldnt be, and openSSH should have known better.)

To say SSH is dirty for waiting is like saying that the recent DirectTV tactic of letting everyone clone their chips over and over without a word, and then destroying them all in one genious swoop, was dirty.

Sorry, they knew it was wrong, they got the benefit of instant recognition at the beginning by using SSH's name, and now they have to deal with it. If they were a bunch of idiots, I'd be sad, but they got their early recognition on the back of the name brand, and now it doesn't matter if they are great...the real name holders want them off their backs.

I say it's their right.

Question (3)

fluxrad (125130) | more than 13 years ago | (#428109)

Have they sued the makers of all *nix OSes yet for putting infringing statements in places like:

/etc/services


FluX
After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network

Re:Et Tu Slashdot (1)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#428111)

Maybe because Ylönen is actually in the same boat as Bezos, et. al. He submitted ssh as an open standard, which was upstanding of him. Then he turned around and tried to trademark the name of the open standard. Now he's decided that OpenSSH is taking too much of his business, and he's trying to shut them down by preventing them from using the name of the protocol in their program name.

Quite frankly, OpenSSH is not confusingly similar to ssh, or even SSH. Trying to sue them for trademark infringement (while simultaneously letting anyone else using ssh or SSH in their name slide by) is just slimy business practice. Why doesn't Ylönen just do what's right and try to compete on the basis of quality of software, not by using questionable legal tactics to try to run them out of business?

Not only is this dumb... (1)

tomcrooze (33802) | more than 13 years ago | (#428113)

But this is total BS. These trademark wars have been getting rather out of hand.

Case-in-hand. Here in Tampa, Florida, there's a company called "Duron Paints." Now, if Duron was a registered trademark before AMD even conceived of the chip by the same name, Duron Paints can sue AMD, and cause AMD to rename their Duron line. In reality, neither company knows the other exists, so what's the problem?

Both organizations probably wouldn't get mixed up very easily, and neither side is even in the same catagory.

The fact that these 2 companies are baking on 3 letters is ridiculous. What if I've made a certain generic... minidisc caleld "AMD" for American MiniDisc Corporation before AMD the chip company was even incorporated? Can I sue AMD and make them change their company name?

Like children fighting over toy blocks...

What if it were Linux (3)

Keepiru (78270) | more than 13 years ago | (#428115)

I wonder, how would we all feel if it were Linus sending out a C&D for someone misusing the term Linux. Would we still be on the side of trademarks are bad? There is no doubt a lot of confusion here, it's not that hard to rename it.

Encrypted shell (esh)
trusted Shell (tsh)
secure telnet (stn) which btw, is more accurate, as it's not really a shell.


Get involved

FTP and FTQ too! (2)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 13 years ago | (#428116)

FTP Software never sued anybody over the File Transfer Program they named themselves after. Probably because the use of the initials FTP goes way back before the history of computers, popularized by graphiti artists as an abbreviation for "Fuck The Police", often used alongside FTQ for "Fuck The Queen". -Don

Re:Et Tu Slashdot (2)

interiot (50685) | more than 13 years ago | (#428119)

It's only legal weasling if a law is being used contrary to its original intent.

But this part of the law was created for exactly this case... when a trademark owner allows others to invest a large amount of time and/or money into an infringing mark without their knowledge of infringement, and then tries to pull the rug out from everyone at exactly the worst time.
--

SeSH? (3)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 13 years ago | (#428120)

Perhaps we could move to OpenSeSH? In a lot of ways, it's almost more descriptive, since the protocol, and the application allow Secure Sessions, more than simple secure shells (eg: scp and SSH-based X-sessions). The name would also point to the use of the SSH protocol (which is not trademarked -- only the application).

The concept of trademarking an application name so close to a standard protocl name is, at best, silly. On the other hand, I don't think that it's worth starting a big fight over. There are far better things to put our energy/ time/ money into.
--

A name... (4)

djrogers (153854) | more than 13 years ago | (#428137)

I think they should follow samba's example, and make a word out of it.... My vote is for SaSHay.

Et Tu Slashdot (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#428139)

When it comes to Microsoft, Jeff Bezos, et al, Slashdot cries out in unison, "why don't you do what's right, not just what's legally allowed."

Now it's open sources' turn. The right thing to do is honor the wishes of the guy who created SSH, the guy who made SSH available to you (albeit with a license you didn't like), and the guy who still tries to make a living from his hard work.

Give up the conflicting name. Not because you have to. Because it's the right thing to do.

Prompt nodification (3)

smoondog (85133) | more than 13 years ago | (#428140)

the article raises an interesting point. Many of these crazy patent/trademark infringemtent lawsuits we see all share one thing in common: They are obnoxiously late. The law should have strong enforcement of making sure lawsuits happen right after the infringement. None of this "They making a lot of money so we'll selectively sue them" attitude. Most of the time these companies would have to be dead to not be aware of years of infringement.

-Moondog

Re:what's next (1)

fluxrad (125130) | more than 13 years ago | (#428141)

what about the "Scotch" in scotch tape?

aye laddie. We're about to put the sue on you far yar blaytant infringemunt of ayre tlademallk.


FluX
After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network

Re:Et Tu Slashdot (5)

Inti (99884) | more than 13 years ago | (#428142)

No way. The author released the code years ago under a license that pretty clearly allowed use of the name. You can't take something like that back. Once something is released to the world under a certain set of conditions, you can't take it back, no matter how much you might like to.

He gave the name away, and now he regrets having done so. Well, too bad. OpenSSH used the name with the entirely justifiable understanding that this was allowed. They took nothing that had not been offered. They built a brand of their own, which the original author now wants to destroy since it is becoming competitive.

That's dirty pool.

Claim your namespace.

Compromise (5)

The Famous Brett Wat (12688) | more than 13 years ago | (#428143)

Ylönen said he's not sure of his next step if the OpenSSH team doesn't back down. "I have tried to be polite, stick to facts, and reason with everyone," he said. "I hope that we can find a solution that will cause minimal disruption in the network security community and will also allow us to protect our trademark rights. It would be shame if this issue escalated to something that damages everyone."

If he doesn't want it to escalate, then he'd best compromise. I think that there's a broad feeling of indignance in the OpenSSH developer and user community that there's a "submarine trademark" (if I may put it that way) on something which we consider to be the name of a protocol. I think there's going to be a great reluctance to go ahead with a name change, because it would let the nose of the camel into the tent. What next -- remove all mention of "SSH" from the documentation?

If Ylönen demands no less than the removal of "SSH" from the project name, and OpenSSH isn't willing to do this, then he has the choice of either backing down or going ahead and making himself really unpopular by suing a free software project. This whole direction does not strike me as being one that can result in a net win for Ylönen. If he wins his trademark rights he'll establish himself as an enemy of the OpenSSH community; if he loses his trademark he looks like a poor businessman.

Instead, he should cut his losses and suddenly realise that he can license the use of the trademark to the OpenSSH project for free, on condition that they clearly distinguish themselves from his product, and perhaps provide linkage to his web site as a clarifying measure. If the real problem is customer confusion, then let's deal with the confusion without all this ugly legal sabre-rattling nonsense.

Does Ylönen realise that he's setting himself up as an enemy of the Free Software Republic? This isn't sensible.

Re:Et Tu Slashdot (1)

Matthew Weigel (888) | more than 13 years ago | (#428144)

It's hard to sort out what "the right thing to do" is, when the other parties aren't doing it. The right thing for SSHCS to do, for instance, is to consistently enforce or not enforce this trademark.

Fighting the use of trademarks to selectively target competition is a right thing to do. Fighting the involvement of trademarks in what should be standard software on every platform is a right thing to do. Right things to do are based upon merit, and not the familiarity of the names involved.

Being grateful to Tatu Ylonen for the work he's done that has benefitted the community, is also a right thing to do; I've already personally thanked him, and I plan on doing the other right things I listed above, as well.

Re:Too Little, Too Late (3)

interiot (50685) | more than 13 years ago | (#428145)

Another quote:

All this time our policy has been that the trademarks cannot be used by others without a proper acknowledgment, and cannot be used in product names without a special license from us," he said. "We have enforced it against all significant players in the field," he added. "We have not felt it appropriate to go after every random web page or the various non-commercial student projects done at universities."

So which is it? Do we think it's better for a trademark owner to go after every single petty violation? Or does it seem to be more fair when a trademark owner lets some of the little guys slip through the cracks, but then has to take action if they become larger? You can't have both worlds...

(granted, there was that other clincher, but your particular argument conflicts with other common slashdot sentiment)
--

Re:Have a contest for a new name (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 13 years ago | (#428146)

yeah, but the suffix police would getcha.

M$ probably thinks they own the CE suffix. winCE and all.

so would you rather M$ go after you or that SSH guy? ;-)

--

An idea! (1)

bdowne01 (30824) | more than 13 years ago | (#428147)

Let's trademark every letter in the alphabet! That way we can sue whoever uses our trademarks. We'd make a fortune!

Re:Prompt nodification (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 13 years ago | (#428171)

Many of these crazy patent/trademark infringemtent lawsuits we see all share one thing in common: They are obnoxiously late. The law should have strong enforcement of making sure lawsuits happen right after the infringement.

Both trademark and patent laws contain provisions requiring that the owner file claims within a limited period of time. In the case of SSH the trademark holder may already be too late.


MOVE 'ZIG'.

Re:A name... (1)

BobNET (119675) | more than 13 years ago | (#428172)

My vote is for SaSHay.

What about SlaSHdot?

Re:Et Tu Slashdot (1)

aaabbbccc (313606) | more than 13 years ago | (#428173)

Huh?

Ylannonen has sent several private emails to the OpenSSH core developers for the past year - emails that have been ignored it seems. It's only now, after no satisfactory response that Ylannonen has put a message on the mailing list. How is this "pulling the rug out from everyone at the exactly the worst time".

Frankly, I think the guy had enough of de Raadt's stalling.

Re:Not only is this dumb... (3)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 13 years ago | (#428174)

"Duron Paints." Now, if Duron was a registered trademark before AMD even conceived of the chip by the same name, Duron Paints can sue AMD, and cause AMD to rename their Duron line.

Nah. Trademark law provides for unrelated products to be sold under the same trademark without infringement.


MOVE 'ZIG'.

Re:A name... (1)

adric (91323) | more than 13 years ago | (#428175)

And they could codename it "Butthead Cryptographer"! (-:
--

Re:Not only is this dumb... (1)

Enigma2175 (179646) | more than 13 years ago | (#428176)

Duron Paints cannot sue AMD because they are in seperate markets. Trademark law allows for the same name if the product is different. Nobody is going to confuse paint for processors. In Russia they take this to a further extreme, and you end up with things like McDonalds shirts and Microsoft Beer.


Enigma

Re:Skipping to the meat of the letter: (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 13 years ago | (#428177)

Owning a trademark in one realm of human communication doesn't give you the right to own it in all others.

Bzzzt. Wrong. The main point of law is the question of whether the name domain OpenSSH might cause confusion. In this case, given the identical functionality if the products I think they have a good case.


MOVE 'ZIG'.

Re:There's the solution! (1)

treke (62626) | more than 13 years ago | (#428203)

My question is whether this name change would make it to the point of actually having to change the commands. I could concede that the project name might be reasonable, but changing the commands would be pushing it.
treke

Re:A name... (1)

Inti (99884) | more than 13 years ago | (#428204)

I vote for SeaSHell
---
Claim your namespace.

Re:secshell (2)

aaabbbccc (313606) | more than 13 years ago | (#428205)

...although its a real pitty he didn't think of enforcing his trademark early on...

Imagine that he did back in 1999 when OpenSSH was first released. What would have been the Slashdot reaction then?

Trademark issued Dec 2000 (1)

bmacy (40101) | more than 13 years ago | (#428206)

I was talking to an IP lawyer friend about this some. He said the trademark was issued in the US on Dec 2000.

Brian Macy

Re:Not only is this dumb... (1)

Enigma2175 (179646) | more than 13 years ago | (#428207)

Thought I would provide a link [sptimes.ru] for this. BTW, I was mistaken, it's not Microsoft Beer, it's Windows 99 beer :)


Enigma

Well, (2)

omarius (52253) | more than 13 years ago | (#428208)

How about calling it SlaSH?

No, wait, don't sue me! ;)

-Omar

(or SwiSH
or SwaSH
or...
)

'tis very similar to the commonly suggested name (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 13 years ago | (#428209)

Encrypted SHell

What about FRESH? That would be a more precise name:
F ree (it's free software)
R emote (remote login is its main purpose)
E ncrypted (truth in advertising; encryption doesn't in and of itself provide security)
SH ell


All your hallucinogen [pineight.com] are belong to us.

But it's not "ssh"! (1)

TWX_the_Linux_Zealot (227666) | more than 13 years ago | (#428210)

It's OpenSSH, which is a completely different set of ASCII codes! how can the people who make "ssh" even get close to confusing "OpenSSH" with their product? it's even got a different MD5 sum and different source code!

"Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."

Re:What if it were Linux (1)

tordia (45075) | more than 13 years ago | (#428211)

I'm partial to SheeSH...

...as in enough already!

Re:Skipping to the meat of the letter: (2)

Matthew Weigel (888) | more than 13 years ago | (#428212)

This is why we have contacted Corenic.net, your domain registration provider, to cancel all service on the "openssh.com" domain.

Actually, when I read the letter, I saw

In particular, we request that you...take all steps necessary to cancel the domain name registration for the name ``openssh.com''.
Are you just trying to stir up the flames?

Do they have the right to do this? (1)

codewolf (239827) | more than 13 years ago | (#428213)

Of course SSH has the right to demand that their name not be used by others. Even if it is an open source project that isn't demanding money for their products, it is a clear violation of a trademarked name, and I'm surprized that it took them this long to come after them. Hell, even if it can be viewed as SSH spiting the OpenSSH project for coming out with a more secure model than SSH1, well, they had the name, and someone else is using it, and gaining a usage level off of the recognition of that name. This isn't a hit to OpenSSH, it's a hit to the name, and SSH has every right to it. I'm sure if I came out with an OS called OpenWindows2000 I'd get sued as well, and I'd expect it. And, this is not a flame on either one(s), I use both, as I run linux, BSD, and Windows OS's Just my two cents.....

Re:Have a contest for a new name (1)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 13 years ago | (#428214)

The CE suffix was just a joke. However, I am serious about the idea of a contest to pick a new name. I do not have the resources to set up a contest site but someone out there must have the capability.

I propose that the community that cares should let the guy have the SSH name as a thank you for the donation of the original code. Then get on with life with a new trademarkable name.

The winner of the contest will receive an AOL CD and 15 minutes of fame.

Re:secshell (4)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 13 years ago | (#428215)

the standard, as I understand it, that openSSH is based on, is described in an open standard named secshell.

No, your understanding is wrong. The standard is called "SSH". Look at the IETF SSH Protocol Description [ietf.org] :

Abstract

SSH is a protocol for secure remote login and other secure network services over an insecure network. This document describes the SSH Connection Protocol. It provides interactive login sessions, remote execution of commands, forwarded TCP/IP connections, and forwarded X11 connections. All of these channels are multiplexed into a single encrypted tunnel. The SSH Connection Protocol has been designed to run on top of the SSH transport layer and user authentication protocols.

Re:What about trademarking other things like this? (2)

FattMattP (86246) | more than 13 years ago | (#428216)

Big companies don't compromise. They send in the lawyers and fight to the death (or until the money runs out). Why should we compromise? As as been shown the "licence file predates the trademark, and it grants rights that cannot be removed." Also they have not chosen to enforce this until now.

Re:SeSH? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#428217)

How 'bout SHEESH. It describes the way a lot of people feel about this, and it shouldn't be too hard to reverse engineer a name to fit the acronym.

--

much like the .arc extension begat .zip (3)

liberty! (80607) | more than 13 years ago | (#428218)

Trademarking a commonly used text string has been done before, and has been solved before.

More than a decade ago, we saw this with SEA trying to enforce the .arc extension for archived files being trademarked. The result was Phil Katz releasing the pkzip utilities, and the whole community switched over to zip files within a few months. SEA had made itself odious to the user community, and was cut off.

It could happen again.

Re:FTP and FTQ too! (2)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 13 years ago | (#428239)

Doh! FTP originally stood for Fuck The Pope, not Fuck The Police. (I got it confused with an NWA song...) Fucking the Pope is a much better idea than Fucking the Police, since he needs it a lot more, and doesn't fuck back as hard.

-Don

Re:its kinda too bad, but its the rules (1)

aaabbbccc (313606) | more than 13 years ago | (#428240)

Instead SSH waited until OpenSSH was popular enough for a sudden name change to confuse people and make things very difficult for them. No matter how you look at it it's very dirty.

How about: SSH has tried for over a year to make a private agreement with OpenSSH and thus spare the public of this affair but since de Raadt steadfastedly refused to compromise, Ylonen is now forced to take the issue publicly.

And even more ironic, didn't the OpenSSH people try to get www.openssh.com a while ago? I thought trademarks were irrelevant?

ssh... short shiny hair? silly slimy hubris? ... (2)

crovira (10242) | more than 13 years ago | (#428241)

This is devolution. What a couple of morons. Call the damn thing Fred and fuck the lawyers.

Re:Skipping to the meat of the letter: (2)

mihalis (28146) | more than 13 years ago | (#428242)

This part, however, goes too far:

This is why we have contacted Corenic.net, your domain registration provider, to cancel all service on the "openssh.com" domain.

Where is that bit? I can't find it. Thanks

rsh (1)

VojakSvejk (315965) | more than 13 years ago | (#428243)

OK, as someone who profits from proprietary software, I do sympathize with Ylonen, but can I trademark a name that's derived of someone else's?

selnet
sicrosoft
smazon.com

Re:Do they have the right to do this? (2)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 13 years ago | (#428244)

Actually, Sun might sue you for using OpenWindows2000, and even if they lost, the shrill nasal whining of their lawyers might drive you to suicide. Better stick to BrokenWindows.

-Don

Future Projects (2)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 13 years ago | (#428245)

What have we learned from this story?

Next time, when we start a Free project aiming to be compatible with someone else's code, why don't we *TALK* to them first?

I'm not saying we should ASK for permission to use name or anything, but just to get an idea how they'd interpret their own agreements.

Say, if the OpenSSH team talked to SSHC and said "Now we have your 1.27 license, and it says we can use the name if it is compatible. Can you verify that?"

If they said "Ok you can use that" then they'd better keep their mouths shut at this time. Too bad it wasn't what happened.

Re:Microsoft's Lawyers Fixed this for Openssh (1)

masq (316580) | more than 13 years ago | (#428246)

No. Although your logic is good, and actually may be viable in this instance, Microsoft did what they always do; they bought the other guys out....

http://www.zdnet.com/yil/content/mag/9901/dubiou s5 .html

Microsoft WON a case. hah. you're funny.

Command Names and Trademarks. (2)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 13 years ago | (#428247)

Usually, I would support the trademark owner: IBM owns IBM, and I expect anything with IBM in its name to come from IBM.

This case is worrying, however, because ssh is also the name of the command. The trademark is not only identifying a brand, it is also the thing you type to perform an action. If DEC (or whoever) had patented "dir" they would have made competing OSes less attractive because new OSes would have to invent arbitrary different names for conceptually identical commands. If SSH enforces the trademark, it is only reasonable that they must fight against alternative implementations using the command "ssh".

This would lead to a repeat of the look-and-feel wars of the GUIs, only this time fought over CLIs using trademark law. LnF was about users moving to different platforms/apps and expecting things to work the same. CLI is no different: users expect telnet to do approximately the same thing on all platforms. If command names are choosen to avoid infrigement, we all will lose.

Re:What about trademarking other things like this? (1)

Zebbers (134389) | more than 13 years ago | (#428248)

you said it yourself skippy. GL IS a trademark of sgi. SSH afiak is a standard. You can't trademark www ftp cgi.

Pulled from the OpenBSD Journal (1)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 13 years ago | (#428249)

From the OpenSSH License: OpenSSH contains no GPL code. 1) Copyright (c) 1995 Tatu Ylonen , Espoo, Finland All rights reserved As far as I am concerned, the code I have written for this software can be used freely for any purpose. Any derived versions of this software must be clearly marked as such, and if the derived work is incompatible with the protocol description in the RFC file, it must be called by a name other than "ssh" or "Secure Shell". However, I am not implying to give any licenses to any patents or copyrights held by third parties, and the software includes parts that are not under my direct control. As far as I know, all included source code is used in accordance with the relevant license agreements and can be used freely for any purpose...

Re:'tis very similar to the commonly suggested na (1)

GrenDel Fuego (2558) | more than 13 years ago | (#428250)

Ahh, but then mentos would be after you.

"what are you doing?"

"running make on my new FRESH install"

"HEY! WE'RE THE FRESHMAKER!"

....

Ok, so it's a bad joke. Leave me alone.

Re:An idea! (2)

Fatal0E (230910) | more than 13 years ago | (#428251)

Let's trademark every letter in the alphabet! That way we can sue whoever uses our trademarks. We'd make a fortune!

Next you'll say "I'll trademark the trademark symbol! Then anyone who trademarks anything will violate my trademark and I'll sue them for trademark infringement." (that idea is trademarked btw. And so are the three letters btw)

Now lets all have a good laugh while our mod points die.
"Me Ted"

Re:what's next (1)

agentZ (210674) | more than 13 years ago | (#428252)

Let me take a drink from my Thermos and then I'll explain it to you. Oh wait! "Thermos" is actually a registered trademark. It's just a brand of vaccuum bottle. But sometimes a brand name (like Coke or SSH) just becomes synoymous (sp?) with the product, no matter who makes it.

I wish they'd just "shh" over "ssh" (1)

gbgbgbg (313744) | more than 13 years ago | (#428253)

What a bunch of whiners. Running about in a frenzy over a fucking name. Grow up people. This is stupid, lame, immature, and a complete and total waste of time and energy.

What about trademarking other things like this? (5)

Gaijinator (218180) | more than 13 years ago | (#428257)

I think we can all agree that secure shell is a descriptive name for this program (whether or not it actually is a shell is really a moot point, however), and the logical abbreviation - following standard shell style - is "ssh". Now, to avoid utter confusion, it is a good idea to make sure there aren't other programs called ssh. OpenSSH makes perfect descriptive sense for the program - it's open source, and it's a lot like ssh.

However, on the other side of the table is OpenGL and Mesa3D. Now, MesaGL would more accurately describe what Mesa3D emulates, but GL is a trademark of SGI, and they probably wouldn't like it if it was used without their permission. The best solution would be for the designers of OpenSSH to change their name and avoid any more disputes. This would also give open source developers a more moderate reputation, as opposed to the uncompromising one they seem to have nowadays.

what's next (2)

bluelip (123578) | more than 13 years ago | (#428259)

gnapster? gaim? openssl? what about the "Scotch" in scotch tape? Isn't honestly a true brand from 3m? Or vise-grips vs locking pliers? What is allowed and what isn't?

Re:A name... (2)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#428263)

How about: So Shit Happens

--

mplex (1)

asdasd1 (315599) | more than 13 years ago | (#428269)

STRATIG0S ton pairneis!!!

Nice Take... (3)

SnatMandu (15204) | more than 13 years ago | (#428274)

This story [segfault.org] makes a nice point.

There's the solution! (2)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 13 years ago | (#428276)

Good thing nobody is enforcing a trademark on "telnet," eh?

Well, then, there's the solution: just rename OpenSSH to OpenSTN (Secure TelNet).

Sure, name changes are hard, but in Quake, when a rocket is barreling towards you, what do you do? Strafe to the side, right! And this is the legal equivalent of that.

I've gotta admit... (2)

Matthew Weigel (888) | more than 13 years ago | (#428278)

I think SSHCS's claims have no standing, and their decision to ``defend their trademark'' against only a single product sheds a poor light on Tatu Ylonen.

Nonetheless, the letter is much, much friendlier than what I've seen in similar cases -- i.e., cease and desist yesterday.

IMO, it looks like SSHCS is following good and proper form as they do this entirely questionable act :-/

What are you smoking? (1)

ranessin (205172) | more than 13 years ago | (#428283)

US Trademark law requires trademark owners to notify violaters immediately, not two years down the road.

Ranessin

Re:Too Little, Too Late (2)

interiot (50685) | more than 13 years ago | (#428284)

Just because it's law, doesn't mean it's best. I was hoping to encourage some discussion of where the line should be drawn.

Also, unless Tatu is lying outright, he says (in the paragraph that I quoted) that OpenSSH is NOT the first to be "attacked".
--

OpenSSH named after protocol or application? (5)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 13 years ago | (#428285)

Asking the question that everyone else seems to be missing, was OpenSSH named after SSH-the-application or SSH-the-protocol?

For countless reasons, I'm sure it's the latter. But that begs the question of why SSH-the-company was so incredibly incompetent that they named SSH-the-protocol after SSH-the-application even though virtually all servers and clients try to incorporate their protocol into the name. TELNET, FTP, FINGER, PING, HTTP(D), etc. Sendmail and bind are two notable exceptions, and of course this can't apply to multiprotocol clients (e.g., Mosaic, Navigator/Commuicator).

OpenSSH, to me, says one thing and one thing only - that it's an "open" implementation of the "SSH" protocol. It has absolutely no connection to SSH-the-program or SSH-the-company other than the historical curiosity that the latter originated the protocol and is pushing it on the standards track. (Something which is undoubtably dead in the water until they (SSH, not ISO) pull their head out of their corporate assh.)

If SSH-the-company wants to keep the identity of SSH-the-program distinct from SSH-the-protocol, they should change the name of SSH-the-program.

Re:There's the solution! (1)

mcrandello (90837) | more than 13 years ago | (#428286)

AFAIK the trademark being used in the product name is what tatu has a problem with. As the article states there are several other SSH(TM) implementations out there that aren't being hassled over this.

My suggestion is to have the installer name the command 'stn' then simply symlink it to 'ssh' by default.

Re:A name... (1)

GrenDel Fuego (2558) | more than 13 years ago | (#428287)

But there's already C-shell, which sounds identical

Re:Do they have the right to do this? (1)

codewolf (239827) | more than 13 years ago | (#428288)

well, at least I'd get something out of the publicity.

Re:Have a contest for a new name (1)

Alpha State (89105) | more than 13 years ago | (#428289)

Encrypted SHell

Re:OpenSSH named after protocol or application? (1)

agentZ (210674) | more than 13 years ago | (#428290)

This is so lucid it's hard to describe. Sort of like the first person to develop "a car" calling their brand name "car" and forcing everybody else to sell "automotive conveyances."

IANAL(tm) <-- I should...

Read Yesterday's Article... (3)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#428291)

for some good alternative names. The best in my opinion was FRESH [slashdot.org] : Free Remote Encrypted Shell. Sounds good to me!

Re:What if it were Linux (1)

CU-Ballistic (248908) | more than 13 years ago | (#428292)

Your sig links to a site called openadvocacy.net. How would you feel if the owners of advocacy.net brought a trademark suit against you for your use of their name in your domain name? I'm sure you would cry foul, and post to slashdot about how big business is killing the smaller guys. It's very easy to say that it is 'easy' to change the name of OpenSSH, but is it justified? I am not going to speculate on whether or not it is indeed the right thing to do, I just thought I would offer my two bits.
-

All squawking aside... (1)

Tache0N (186619) | more than 13 years ago | (#428293)

Whether we like it or not he is at this point politely asking that his license be respected. Perhaps he could have done this earlier, and perhaps he could have been more clear. The fact remains that this gentleman has given us an excellent tool that fixes one of the worst security problems, that being clear text authentication. So why don't we thank him by respecting his wishes and changing the name? Here are some possibilities: 1. OpenShell, OSH replaces SSH. 1.1 OpenOSH, OSH replaces SSH. 2. Secure Remote Shell, SRSH replaces SSH. 2.1 OpenSRSH, SRSH replaces SSH. 3. Crypto Remote Shell, CRSH replaces SSH. 3.1 OpenCRSH, CRSH replaces SSH There could be many variants of the above that not only sound good but make sense.. I hope the community can come together on this and perhaps /. can mediate this by creating an online vote that can help the OpenSSH folks pick a new name.

Re:Future Projects (1)

Black_Cherry (316598) | more than 13 years ago | (#428294)

You'd think it would just be common sense to find out if a name is either: Trademarked, or already in use(see sawmill). Oh well.

__

Re:A name... (1)

gnudutch (235983) | more than 13 years ago | (#428295)

I like OpenShuSH.

Would OpenSsssSH be acceptable too?

Re:secshell (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#428296)

Nice selective quoting Colonel. From your link:

9. Trademark Issues

SSH is a registered trademark and Secure Shell is a trademark of SSH
Communications Security Corp. SSH Communications Security Corp permits
the use of these trademarks as the name of this standard and protocol,
and permits their use to describe that a product conforms to this
standard, provided that the following acknowledgement is included where
the trademarks are used: ``SSH is a registered trademark and Secure
Shell is a trademark of SSH Communications Security Corp
(www.ssh.com)''. These trademarks may not be used as part of a product
name or in otherwise confusing manner without prior written permission
of SSH Communications Security Corp.


Of course, as previously posted, "The Rat" apparently has a licence.

its kinda too bad, but its the rules (1)

deft (253558) | more than 13 years ago | (#428300)

This may all boil down to "too bad openSSH, bad call on using someone elses name". As much as I'd like to support open SSH, i don't like their "expiration of right to prosecute" argument. this strangely paralels the domain fair use arguments. If it can be confused, then it infringes. (the recent win by a "*sucks.com site definitely makes it more interesting).

I can't see why any lack of enforcement in 2 years should be an argument that enforcing it now is any less just. It was never the fault of SSH Communications Security that the open project decided to use SSH letters. And maybe just now their trademark is being infringed. Noone told them to pick SSH.

Yes, it sucks, yes, there are probably motivations to enforce it NOW all of the sudden. But that doesn't make it less enforceable or less of an argument.

Just because somebody gets fed up with something, or realizes the damage it is doing late in the game does not make it less damage. (regardless of how legitimate the infringement claim will turn out to be).

secshell (2)

daniell (78495) | more than 13 years ago | (#428302)

the standard, as I understand it, that openSSH is based on, is described in an open standard named secshell. the closed SSH works off that as well, but has the trademark SSH. I'm inclined to give the Author the right to the name, although its a real pitty he didn't think of enforcing his trademark early on, as now its quite late. However, I'd suggest that openSSH should keep its name and change its tool to sec, or secsh. And please don't make a lame joke about csh worrying about this.

Clearly the problem is that there are multiple tools that are used the same way and called the same thing. ssh makes a secshell connection to address with terminal emulation. One of these tools has a trademark on ssh; I think its actually in a good possition to make a case that the other tool should use a different name, such as the more descriptive secsh.

-Daniel

I think OpenSSH is too goddam busy battling itself (1)

pheph (234655) | more than 13 years ago | (#428312)

I work at a NOC that mixes Linux and Unix (and very few Windows) servers adamantly. In a recent knee-jerk reaction, all the Unix admins (which don't really talk to the Linux admins) upgraded their commercial versions of ssh to:
"sshd: SSH Secure Shell 2.3.0 on sparc-sun-solaris2.8"
So, I've upgraded my servers to OpenSSH 2.3.0p1... Very well, but now half my servers can't talk to each other. I get so errors among instances of the exact same version of OpenSSH!

Disconnected; MAC error (Message authentication check fails.).

2f 75 73 72 2f 6c 6f 63
Disconnecting: Bad packet length ##########.

And one case were i can get to a password prompt, but even when i give it the right password, it rejects the attempt!

The few Unix administrators who run both OpenSSH and Commercial SSH are also finding OpenSSH isn't working the way they expected. I'm not asking slashdot for product support, just moral! :)

Now, I have fixed these problems and my servers are all communicating again, but it took a greater part of my day to resolve which i could have spent, i don't know, reading the onion or something. :)

Too Little, Too Late (5)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#428314)

The Register had a followup on this.

Theo de Raadt, co-creator of OpenSSH, hopes the community, not the courts, will decide the trademark skirmish. He points to a licensing agreement that allowed independent versions of SSH before Ylönen received a trademark in 1996, and he wonders why Ylönen has taken five years to decide to enforce the trademark.

He adds: "There are two main clinchers going on here. One is the fact that this licence file predates the trademark, and it grants rights that cannot be removed. And the other is the history of non-enforcement... against anybody else in the entire field using this name, then suddenly enforcing us because we're getting big enough."

Looks like it is too little too late as far as trade mark enforcement goes. If nothing else, Ylönen may be trying to cash in on the name of OpenSSH.

Although there is a point that he (Ylönen) has to do something, I suppose, and better late than never. But it is likely too late.

Oh yeh, IANAL btw

Is this a troll? (2)

Stu Charlton (1311) | more than 13 years ago | (#428316)

Okay, we had quite an argument about SSH vs. OpenSSH just a few days ago, and now we're re-stoking the fire?

Trademark law is there to protect the consumer. Who can honestly deny that OpenSSH has been hurt SSH's business? The only point in contention is that SSH waited to long to enforce the trademark by being NICE -- by emailing the team over the period of a year, several times, at least from my interpretation of the letter in the last Slashdot piece on SSH.

Being NICE is something Slashdotters always seem to want corporations to do. And now it make have cost SSH its trademark. But we don't care, because we're so wrapped up in our own superiority and rights to entitlement that we bite back whenever it's something we disagree with, even if it's a double-standard. This attitude is no less evil than an "evil" (tongue-firmly-in-cheek) corporation.

Let's remember that there's a trademark on LINUX.

LAMFAM! (1)

gbgbgbg (313744) | more than 13 years ago | (#428321)

Both sides should merge and form a new entity called LAMFAM! Lame-Ass MotherFucking Arrogant Morons. Functional and descriptive.

I still can't believe bullshit like this. One, its a fucking waste! Two, if this is news, then the state of real news must be even more sad. Three, GET OVER IT!

People are stupid. Stupid people do stupid things. Kill 'em all, and let God sort 'em out.

News for turds, shit that splatters!

Its the truth, and you all know it.

what about the SH? (2)

AYEq (48185) | more than 13 years ago | (#428323)

Just trolling around, but maybe Mr.Bourne (or the author of the orig. shell) should sue them for using SH. C'mon that's pretty confusing. I might think that Mr. Bourne was involved in cryptography. (which is evil, right?) :)

The company name is kind of redundant? (1)

Zhyn (103628) | more than 13 years ago | (#428325)

The Company name is "SSH Communications Security Corporation", now if we exapnd it it says "Secure SHell Communications Security Corporation" OH boy, this product most be REALLY secure if they can mention sercurity twice in there name! Hmmm........ CC Cookie Chocolate Chip Company or Chocolate Chip Cookie Chocolate Chip Company "There Chocolatly"

Re:its kinda too bad, but its the rules (1)

millert (10803) | more than 13 years ago | (#428326)

That is completely false, please get your facts straight and back up your claims. Heck, up until very recently SSH Communications had a link from their website to the OpenSSH site.

As for openssh.com you've got it backwards. The OpenSSH folks had to register openssh.com because someone grabbed openssh.org shortly after the first release of openssh. Granted, the person in question had good intentions, but still...

Re:I think OpenSSH is too goddam busy battling its (1)

dmiller (581) | more than 13 years ago | (#428327)

You should try emailing the developers at openssh-unix-dev@mindrot.org [mailto] . We can only fix problems that we know about.

Re:Et Tu Slashdot (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 13 years ago | (#428330)

In a very loose sense I'd have to agree with you, and with the various people who have posted in support of Ylonen's right to defend the SSH trademark.

What I'm having a problem with is that SSH is the acronym for a protocol that has been submitted to standards bodies by the holder of the SSH trademark. By definition anything submitted to the public standards bodies becomes part of the public domain.

Aside from the use of the term in the standards documents, there has been no apparent attempt to stop anyone other than the open source development team from using SSH in the name of their "product." As someone else has pointed out in these threads, trademark defense has to be consistent to be valid.

I'm not sure a trademark on the acronym SSH is valid without being more specific about the design of the trademark. Even IBM's trademarks aren't on the three letters IBM, but on specific color combinations and fonts for their famous corporate logo.

Although I generally don't feel Ylonen is acting in good faith in this matter, I'd rather see us switch to a name like OpenSTN, provided that the documentation submitted to the standards bodies are also updated to use a protocol acronym other than SSH. Whatever acronym is used for the standard is the acronym that should be used by Open???.

I don't agree with comments in this thread that the open source project should have a page crediting and linking the commercial provider's site. If anything, they should be referencing the site and documentation from the standards bodies describing the protocol. Once a standard has been submitted to ISO, ANSI, W3C, or any other such body, it is the standard that becomes important for determining interoperability, not the identity of the originator. Any historical credit for the standard should be referenced by the standards documentation, not by the open source implementation.

hmmmm... (1)

teeth (2952) | more than 13 years ago | (#428331)

very few people who type "vi" are running anything resembling the original implementation

...

Re:its kinda too bad, but its the rules (1)

dmiller (581) | more than 13 years ago | (#428332)

Yes, it sucks, yes, there are probably motivations to enforce it NOW all of the sudden. But that doesn't make it less enforceable or less of an argument.

Actually it does - one of the central principles of trademark law is that you have to actively defend your trademark. You cannot, for example, wait for your trademark to come into general use and then demand it back.

Have a contest for a new name (2)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 13 years ago | (#428333)

My vote is for Cryptonomicon Enabled

Nobody would object if we put a CE after everything

telnetCE
ftpCE
fooCE
barCE
loseCE

Re:its kinda too bad, but its the rules (1)

nothng (147342) | more than 13 years ago | (#428335)

The thing is had this been addressed earlier in developement it openssh could have much more easily changed it's name. Instead SSH waited until OpenSSH was popular enough for a sudden name change to confuse people and make things very difficult for them. No matter how you look at it it's very dirty. Obviously OpenSSH is giving SSH communications such a run for it's money that this is the only thing they can find to put a damper on OpenSSH.

It's a shame there is no statute of limitations on trademarks. Just because something is "legal" doesn't mean that it's justified. I hope not everyone thinks this way. What I think is really sad is the fact that OpenSSH in my opinion is even a better product. I've tried on many occasions to get SSH to compile with no success. OpenSSH however worked with minimal effort.

Re:Et Tu Slashdot (1)

zaius (147422) | more than 13 years ago | (#428338)

Actually, Theo may be in the right about 'immediately enforcing' trademark violations... Xerox and Kleenex are two famous examples of corporations who didn't immediately enforce their trademarks and ended up losing them by a clause in trademark law dealing with 'name dilusion'.

This is why Coke runs around suing everyone like crazy for using their name places it shouldn't be... not because they really think skript_kiddie666's webpage is going to cause problems, but because if they don't keep on top of it they could lose their multi-billion dollar brand.

Skipping to the meat of the letter: (2)

Chuck Flynn (265247) | more than 13 years ago | (#428340)

The ssh mark is a significant asset of SSH Communications Security and the company strives to protect its valuable rights in the ssh name and mark.


This is true. Some might go so far as to say it's their only significant asset, but that's a different matter.

SSH Communications Security has made a substantial investment in time and money in its ssh mark, such that end users have come to recognize that the mark represents SSH Communications Security as the source of the high quality products offered under the mark.


Again, this is nothing controversial. SSH has held the mark since 1998, according to the USPTO documents on the site. They've invested money. No one doubts that.

This resulting goodwill is of vital importance to SSH Communications Security. It wants to make sure that you understand the importance of SSH's mark to it, and, by necessity, its need to protect its trademark against the unauthorized use by others.


Again, this is nothing controversial. Companies have to defend (or make the appearance of defending) their trademarks, lest they lose them. This is a mere legal formality.

This part, however, goes too far:

This is why we have contacted Corenic.net, your domain registration provider, to cancel all service on the "openssh.com" domain.


This is prior restraint and flies in the face of the first amendment. SSH Communications Security owns the trademark on "SSH" in the realm of client-server protocols, that does not give it the right to bully openssh about their domain name.

Take down the offending software, perhaps, but domain names aren't mere marks that distinguish products from each other. They're our very language itself. Owning a trademark in one realm of human communication doesn't give you the right to own it in all others.

Microsoft's Lawyers Fixed this for Openssh (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#428342)

If I remember correctly, some guy [that's how good my memory is ;) ] took M$ to court over the name Internet Explorer. He proved he had used the name Internet Explorer before they did, but Microsoft won because their browser isn't Internet Explorer, it's MICROSOFT Internet Explorer. As long as they preface it with Microsoft, it's not the poor guy's word. Same with Excel, I believe. Likewise, this isn't SSH, it's Openssh. Anyway, I have to go, Matthew Broderick is suing me for having the same first name.
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