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Korean Linux Trademark Goes To Appellate Court January 20

Jan 16, 2000, 23:09 UTC

By Yi Kyoung-ho and Randy Leganza (레간자??)

On Friday, January 20, 2000, Korea's second highest court is
scheduled to hear the appeal of Kwon Yong-tae's lawyers asserting his
Linux trademark. Most people expect Kwon to lose again; he lost
earlier when a lower court upheld the Korean patent office's

In September 1995, Kwon applied for two Linux trademark patents which
were granted in 1997. But he made no attempt to defend his trademarks
until August 1999 when his lawyer sent a letter to one of Seoul's
largest booksellers, requesting they stop selling Linux books.

The incident quickly drew the ire of the local Linux community,
including the government sponsored "Linux Council." The government
patent office soon responded that the patent could be nullified, if
it could be shown that Linux existed as an operating system before
Kwon's 1995 application. This "evidence of prior art" was easy
enough, and the patents' revocation was upheld by the court.

Nevertheless, Kwon is persisting, and the lawyers are scheduled to
appear in the apppellate court on January 20. If the issue then goes
to Korea's highest court, it could be another 6 months before it is
finally resolved.

In the meantime, Linux publications remain on the bookshelves.