[Snort-users] GPL/Open Source: Naieve Question

steveg steveg at ...6179...
Fri Aug 15 16:52:02 EDT 2003

On Thu, 14 Aug 2003, Vkmobile wrote:

> I found this on the Snort.ORG website:
> "Sourcefire and Snort are trademarks or registered trademarks of
> Sourcefire, INC. patents pending."

You have to remember the difference between a patent and a trademark. A
trademark is the registration of a name or image (i.e MS's lawsuit against
lindows for trademark infrigement because it sounds similar and is
within the same industry). In this case that simply means that Sourcefire
has registered snort and anyone trying to use this name in the computer
industry could be liable however if a pig feed company wants to call
itself snort they could do it because confusion between the 2 companies
would not occur.

> So is Snort really distributed as an open-source/GPL distribution or is
> Snort.ORG actually the marketing and distribution arm of Sourcefire,
> Inc.? If patents are pending then are we all users be required to pay
> royalties at some point? Isn't this all in conflict with the open source
> and GPL? I am bit confused now.

any code released under GPL can not then be "taken back".. no such thing
because the code is now public and any claims that you have on that code
are void (it's a bit more compicated but that's the basics).

That being said I am also not a lawyer.
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