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Hardware Hacking Linux Business

Bluetooth SIG Attacks Linux Bluetooth List 127

Posted by Hemos
from the battle-royale dept.
Karma Sucks writes "As reported in the latest free edition of LWN the Bluetooth Qualification Administrator has demanded that the Linux BlueZ project take down the highly-useful Bluetooth hardware compatibility list for Linux with the intimation that 'As neither of these products have been qualified using Linux it is illegal to make them available for public use'. This was apparently done at the request of a registered member of the Bluetooth SIG. Anyone know who this member was?"
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Bluetooth SIG Attacks Linux Bluetooth List

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  • Old news (Score:2, Informative)

    by kappa (104316) on Monday December 26, 2005 @11:34AM (#14339631) Homepage
    This issue is almost one year old. The page under link was last modified in April.
  • Erm (Score:5, Informative)

    by ChrisJones (23624) <cmsj-slashdot&tenshu,net> on Monday December 26, 2005 @11:41AM (#14339655) Homepage Journal
    This happened back in March. it still sucks though.

    The list is available at: http://web.archive.org/web/20050310010832/http://w ww.holtmann.org/linux/bluetooth/devices.html [archive.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 26, 2005 @12:11PM (#14339737)
    I agree with your point, but "Bluetooth" is probably a registered trademark and in order to use it on anything you need to comply with the terms of the trademark owner, which in this case probably includes passing a test suite and sending them $x.

    So it's not *directly* illegal, you just run the risk of a trademark violation lawsuit, unless you call it something else.
  • by oscartheduck (866357) on Monday December 26, 2005 @12:21PM (#14339768)
    Bluetooth is a propietary technology; standardisation is being worked upon (IEEE 801.15). There are several patents involved on the technology, therefore companies that wish to use it sign a licensing agreement. I can't get a hand on the exact terms, though I read that it's royalty free.
  • by standbypowerguy (698339) on Monday December 26, 2005 @12:29PM (#14339796) Homepage
    The list is still there. From http://www.holtmann.org/linux/bluetooth/devices.ht ml [holtmann.org]:

    "I am keeping the features document, because it has nothing to do with Linux. These products are available on the market and thus all of them should be qualified. If the HCI Version field is filled in this table, then this device should also work perfect with Linux."

    The "features document" can be accessed at http://www.holtmann.org/linux/bluetooth/features.h tml [holtmann.org]. Just look for an entry in the "HCI Version" field to verify the device works with Linux.

  • by Quarters (18322) on Monday December 26, 2005 @12:54PM (#14339866)
    It's called trademark. Congress passed laws protecting registered trademarks quite a long time ago. The owner of the Bluetooth trademark is legally obligated to protect their mark. If they don't the mark can be considered as falling into general use and then they will lose any legal protections the trademark currently gives them.
  • an apparent update from the situation in March, from TFA:

    "Since April, 11th 2005 the BlueZ protocol stack is qualified as a Bluetooth subsystem. Companies can now use this listing to qualify their adapters with Linux support."

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this now render the issue moot? The reason the SIG was interested in taking the list down was because BlueZ wasn't qualified. Now it is (or rather, back in April it became) qualified, so what is the issue here?


    The list still does not seem to be up, although I didn't look very hard for it. So is there something still blocking it?

  • by LDoggg_ (659725) on Monday December 26, 2005 @01:17PM (#14339947) Homepage
    The Linux BlueZ site wasn't selling anything either.

    Probably not, but companies with products listed with the bluetooth logo are very likely trying to make a profit.
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Monday December 26, 2005 @01:36PM (#14340024) Homepage
    A trademark is not a copyright. A trademark owner has no power over nominative uses of the mark such as the subject list (or this discussion, for that matter). The list is entirely legal and need not have been removed.
  • by asdfghjklqwertyuiop (649296) on Monday December 26, 2005 @01:36PM (#14340032)

    Bluetooth is a propietary technology; standardisation is being worked upon (IEEE 801.15). There are several patents involved on the technology, therefore companies that wish to use it sign a licensing agreement


    But he wasn't using any patent, just distributing factual information about some products out there...

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Monday December 26, 2005 @01:40PM (#14340049) Homepage
    Whether or not anything is be sold is irrelevant. A trademark owner can prevent others from use his mark to label their products or in ways that might confuse the public as to what is being sold, but he cannot prevent them from using it to refer to his products. Nominative use is not restricted. The list was stating simple facts about Bluetooth products. This is entirely legal, no matter how much the trademark owner may dislike it.

  • Re:Gee... I wonder? (Score:5, Informative)

    by keraneuology (760918) on Monday December 26, 2005 @02:18PM (#14340259) Journal
    Once again the term RTFA comes to mind:

    TFA links to http://lwn.net/Articles/163266/ [lwn.net]

    On that page we read:

    Weird factors come into play. The BlueZ project used to have a very nice list of working hardware, but that list was pulled down [holtmann.org] as a result of objections from the "Bluetooth Qualification Administrator."

    On that page there are two mailto: links - mailto:bqa@bluetooth.com [mailto] and mailto:member.relations@bluetooth.com [mailto]

    See that @bluetooth.com bit? That's called a domain. Since these bits of email are going to people @bluetooth.com it is safe to assume that they are involved with the website that appears at http://www.bluetooth.com/ [bluetooth.com] - let's go there, shall we?

    There is a very prominent link "about the SIG" that appears on this page. Since TFA was about "a registered member of the Bluetooth SIG" it is fairly probably that this is the SIG in question. Let's click on the 'about the SIG' [bluetooth.com] link, shall we?

    The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is a trade association comprised of leaders in the telecommunications, computing, automotive, industrial automation and network industries that is driving the development of Bluetooth wireless technology, a low cost short-range wireless specification for connecting mobile devices and bringing them to market.
    The Bluetooth SIG is a privately held trade association and is not publicly traded. The Special Interest Group, whose name was inspired by the Danish King Harald Bluetooth, known for unifying Denmark and Norway in the 10th century, was founded in September 1998. Now, in the 21st century, unification is a guiding principle of Bluetooth wireless technology, as it connects innovative products and companies to consumer aspirations.
    The Bluetooth SIG has established its global headquarters in Bellevue, Washington, USA . The staff is comprised of Executive Director Michael Foley, Ph.D., Marketing Director Anders Edlundand a small staff of Marketing, Engineering, and Operations professionals. In addition to the Bluetooth SIG Staff, volunteers from member companies play key roles in running the Bluetooth SIG organization.
    The Bluetooth SIG includes promoter member companies Agere, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Microsoft , Motorola, Nokia and Toshiba, and thousands of Associate and Adopter member companies.

    http://tinyurl.com/e4olu [tinyurl.com]

  • Quick Legal Analysis (Score:5, Informative)

    by EconomyGuy (179008) on Monday December 26, 2005 @04:04PM (#14340846) Homepage
    In response to this story I did a little research and sent a letter to the website's author with some quick legal analysis and a suggestion to seek actual legal counsel. For those who are interested, here is the quick and dirty part of the letter:

    It would be helpful to get a copy of the full letter from SIG, but I gather their central claim is a trademark violation. On this issue you have several possible defenses. First, I suggest your strongest argument is based on the unavailability of a generic term by which to describe Bluetooth technology. This is similar to the situation Kleenex found it self many years ago... by using the term Kleenex to describe their product and never using the generic term (tissue), they destroyed their own mark. A company who owns a mark, even a patented mark, MUST provide a term that can be used to describe their product by the competition. I reviewed the entire SIG site and could find no generic term to describe Bluetooth.

    Second you have an arguable fair use defense. Your site is making commentary on the products in question, noting that these devices will work in Linux. That is classified as criticism and protected under the First Amendment.
  • by Simon Brooke (45012) * <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Monday December 26, 2005 @05:42PM (#14341278) Homepage Journal

    Which I've now done, and the location should be obvious to any moderately sentient being. However, please be kind and get your copy from archive.org [archive.org], because they've got shedloads more bandwidth than I have.

    To those people who say 'there's no point' for one reason and another, the point is that if people get used to the idea that the only thing you achieve by taking down something like this is a whole raft of mirrors, we'll see far fewer such takedowns.

  • Re:So what? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 26, 2005 @06:28PM (#14341474)
    If I find a product in a Linux-compatible list, I'm much more likely to buy the product. The harder it is to confirm something works under Linux, the greater the chance that I'll buy something else which I can confirm more easily. And if something doesn't work with Linux then someone gets to process a returned item; that has some effect on future sales.

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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