Cloud services provider in Python trademark dispute

News Jane McCallion Feb 18, 2013
Business boxing gloves
Business boxing gloves

Our Holdings and Python Software Foundation go head-to-head over product name

Cloud services provider Our Holdings has caused uproar among programmers for trying to trademark the word ‘python’.

The company, which offers both Infrastructure-as-a-Service and cloud backup, uses the trading name ‘python’ for its products and owns the domain name python.co.uk, and has applied for a European trademark on the name.

However, Our Holdings has run into trouble with the Python Software Foundation (PSF), a non-profit organisation whose mission is to “promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language”.

The foundation has published a blog asking users in the EU for help blocking Our Holdings’ move to trademark ‘Python’, while submitting its own bid to claim commercial ownership of the name.

PSF claims Our Holdings “is trying to trademark the use of the term ‘Python’ for all software, services, servers... pretty much anything having to do with a computer.

“We contacted the owners of python.co.uk repeatedly and tried to discuss the matter with them. They blew us off and responded by filing the community trademark application claiming the exclusive right to use ‘Python’ for software, servers and web services – everywhere in Europe,” the organisation claimed.

PSF asked supporters to write letters to the EU counsel explaining how they use Python and to state that another company using the term would be confusing.

Tim Poultney, managing director of Our Holdings, disputes PSF’s account, claiming the foundation dragged its feet after he got in touch last year regarding his company’s intention to start trademark proceedings.

He also alleges PSF supporters have gone beyond the foundation’s requests, sending him death threats and overloading the python.co.uk website, according to the Guardian.

However, Cloud Pro’s own research found the Python.co.uk address leads to a 404 message, meaning the website cannot be found.