DooMWiz asks: "I am the author of the Open Image Library (OpenIL), an image library under the LGPL license at openil.org. Several weeks ago, I was shocked by the appearance of an e-mail from a Silicon Graphics, Inc representative. Apparently, they are "concerned" that 'OpenIL' may infringe on their 'OpenGL' trademark. I am not a trademark lawyer, nor do I have any real knowledge of trademarks. Even if I had some kind of justifiable way of proving that 'OpenIL' could not possibly be confused with 'OpenGL', I probably would not pursue it, since a college student with very limited resources against giant SGI would be messy for me. I'm really not *too* upset about being asked to change the name, but during the course of this, I sent several e-mails to the SGI rep, and his replies indicated some disturbing news. He claims that he has already talked to OpenCL about changing their name and that he plans to pursue the ever-popular OpenAL, which isn't just a one man operation like OpenIL. OpenAL may have the resources to fight something like this, since it has nothing to do with SGI's business model but is backed by large companies. Lastly, SGI has a trademark on 'GL', and the rep also claims to plan to pursue projects with 'GL' in their names. Projects like GLScene and DemoGL come to mind and may be in trouble. Anyone with trademark experience have any advice on what course of action to take? Dropping the 'OpenIL' name seems like the easiest way out."
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One of the things I try to focus on with Ask Slashdot questions are issues involving trademarks and the big guy trying to rob the little guy out of a name, or a domain that they may have had for years. Although this was necessary to stop the domain squatters out to make a quick buck, it seems to have turned into a corporate right to harass everyone. Long before the internet was a household name, people registered domains or created project names that they didn't think would cause problems and now, years later, they are finding out how wrong they were, and how the laws can rob their project's identity. What follows is a question regarding SGI their quest to go after anyone with any name starting with "Open" or containing "GL". How long is it, before corporations begin to carve up the English dictionary and we won't be able to use a single word without following it with "(tm)"?