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From: Mark Bolzern <>
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.announce
Subject: IMPORTANT: Linux Is Proprietary?
Date: Thu, 08 Aug 1996 19:07:23 GMT
Organization: ?
Approved: (Lars Wirzenius)
Message-ID: <>

I just got a letter via Registered Mail that concerns everyone 
in the Linux Community.  Anyone in Boston care to check this out?

They apparently have targeted WGS because we are prominent Linux CD
distribution maker, the people who manufacture and sell Linux Pro.
I have no further information on these people, they included no
Telephone numbers, or E-Mail addresses.  It smells like a scam to me.

I will type it here in it's entirety, with no further comments by me. 
I will use ~R to indicate the registered Trademark symbol.

                                      Global American
                                      PO Box 1963
                                      Boston MA 02205-1963

WorkGroup Solutions, Inc.
div General Computer Services, Inc
P.O. Box 460190
Aurora, CO

July 30, 1996

Dear Sir,

This is to inform you that LINUX~R is proprietary.  Information about
obtaining approval for it's use and/or making payment for past use
may be obtained by writing the following address:

Legal Dept
c/o Global American
PO Box 1963
Boston, MA 02205-1963


William R. Della Croche, Jr
Proprieter LINUX~R

- -- 
        Mark Bolzern :    WorkGroup Solutions, Inc. 
          Try WGS Linux Pro, WebKit, and FlagShip, You'll lovem, OR mail:
                USA Tel: 303-699-7470  Fax: 303-699-2793  

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From: Michael Alan Dorman <>
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.announce
Subject: IMPORTANT: Linux is Proprietary? followup.
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 1996 02:05:47 GMT
Organization: ?
Approved: (Lars Wirzenius)
Message-ID: <>

This followup to <>.  The
implications are _very_ significant.

First, the disclaimer: Most of this is research combined with some
speculation and a conversation with a lawyer.  I am not a lawyer, and
I'm not attempting to dispense legal advice.

My wife, a librarian, has done a little investigation, and found that
there does indeed exist a trademark on Linux, registered in the name
of the individual who originated the letter which Mark Bolzern
<> reproduced in this newsgroup, one William R. Della
Croce, Jr., and filed from 33 Snow Hill St., Boston, MA, 02113.

Based on the description of the goods and services it is supposed to
USE AND OPERATION), and the date it was registered (September 5, 1995,
some three years after "Linux" debuted), I think the intent of this
filing is fairly obvious.  I suspect if I expressed my feelings about
it, I could get slapped with a libel suit. :-)

Before getting my hands on this information, I first spoke with a
fairly good friend who specializes in Intellectual Property law, to
see what could be done if this turned out to be the case.

Without making a firm commitment, he sounded like he might consider
getting involved with this, though I don't know how much it would
cost, etc.  I suspect it will be expensive.  I'll be discussing
general options with him to whatever extent he feels appropriate.

I have set up a mailing list for a discussion of what can be done by
those who have a stake in having this trademark revoked or reassigned
to a body like Linux International.

At this point I'm not sure having this list be open-enrollment would
be the most beneficial thing, as I think keeping the signal to noise
_very_ high is _very_ important.  If you wish to be added, please
contact me,, and let me know why you
think you should be on the list.  I would certainly look for
representatives from major distributors and other organizations that
have been selling products that would be affected.

- --
Michael Alan Dorman                                   Head of Systems            Louis Calder Memorial Library
(305) 243-5530                 University of Miami School of Medicine 

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Subject: IMPORTANT: Linux Trademark Followup from WGS
From: Mark Bolzern <>
Approved: (Lars Wirzenius)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.announce
Organization: ?
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 1996 05:13:18 GMT
Message-ID: <>


This announcment is in response to all the well meaning E-Mail
messages I got after my COLA post of the "Global American" letter
claiming they owned the Linux Trademark.  I want to apologize that
I could not answer each message individually... but there were just 
too many.

Others in the Linux community have now gotten the same letter, and
WGS is are in contact with them.

Indeed Global American does own the Trademark LINUX (regardless of 
capitalization), at least according to the US Government.  I am in 
possession of his original filing.  I have written De la Croche as to 
what they think they are trying to do with the letter they sent to me,
can requesting the "materials" that he mentioned.  We now do have
full contact information on "Global American".

Croche filed for the trademark 8/94, and it was granted by the 
trademark office.  Of course by then the word LINUX was already 
in general use, so their position will probably not be defensible 
if we go to court with proof of this fact.

The GNU license, and Trademark Law are two very different things.
Just because Linux is free and under GNU, does not, without 
precedent make the word LINUX itself non trademarkable by someone.

It is possible that Della Croche has good intentions, and we (WGS)
will decide our course of action in this matter after we have more facts.

Depending on what Croche's intents are, WGS will either ignore him,
and go on using the word Linux, and encourage everyone else to do 
so as well, or possibly go to court to contest the trademark as being 
fallaciously granted for a word already in common use when Croche
filed his application for the trademark.

I am also a board member of Linux International, but do not presume to
speak for them in this matter.  WGS does intend to cooperate with them 
however.  Linux International is currently studying the issue in order
to determine it's course of action.

Linux International operates a Web site if you wish to have additioal
information, you can visit or it's mirrors for 
further information.

For now, please stand by, stay tuned, take no action and wait for 
more news.

I will post further information publically, including COLA after we 
have a handle on things, and possibly requests for assistance.

Thanks for your concern, and support.

Mark Bolzern
WorkGroup Solutions, Inc.
Makers of "Linux Pro"  

PS. By all means visit our web site, or take advantage of our mirrors too!
- -- 
        Mark Bolzern :    WorkGroup Solutions, Inc. 
 Find all your Linux needs at the All-Linux Shopping Mall, online at our site,,
    Telephone: 303-699-7470  Fax: 303-699-2793  Orders: 800-234-7813

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