I’m not sure which is company is dumber, Mandrive Linux or King Features Syndicate. From wikipedia’s Mandrake Linux entry:
In February 2004 MandrakeSoft lost a court case against Hearst Corporation, owners of King Features Syndicate. Hearst contends that MandrakeSoft is infringing upon King Features’ trademarked character Mandrake the Magician. The word Mandrake is not unique to the King Features character, and MandrakeSoft is appealing the decision. As a precaution, MandrakeSoft has renamed its products by removing the space between the brand name and the product name and changing the first letter of the product name to lower case, thus creating one word. Starting from version 10.0, Mandrake Linux became known as Mandrakelinux, and its logo changed accordingly. Similarly, MandrakeMove became Mandrakemove.
King Features upsets thousands of smart geeks by this. But what is their downside? Nothing. Nobody will organise a boycott or campaign against them. And even if the smart geeks to get organised they don’t represent King Features Syndicate stakeholders. In what way could they influence those stakeholders to make KFS take notice?
MandrakeSoft were dumb for getting to release 10.0 or so without securing their intellectual property. The cost of defending the action in financial and management resources is inexcusable.
I haven’t read the court decision, but it also amazes me that King Features can lock up the word Mandrake (which is a plant) in areas beyond their trademark class. Of course they may have trademark protection in the software class.
The point is now moot as
in April 2005 Mandrakesoft annouced that after the corporate merger of Mandrakesoft and Conectiva, and the legal dispute with Hearst Corporation, the new company name would be Mandriva, and that Mandriva Linux would be the new name covering products.
Chalk one up for the deep pockets of an old media company.