The name "theos.com" was originally a pun on the phrase "Theo's .COM", or "The OS" (since I am a software developer), or "Theo's not calm" or other similar jokes. Increasingly, the hosts in that domain have become more of an integral part of the OPENBSD project infrastructure.
Theo de Raadt is the founder of the OpenBSD project -- a FREE, SECURE, BSD-style Unix operating system!
Since 1994, Theo has been working out of his own pocket on improving free software. (Which is why Theo's .COM is still mostly located behind an ISDN line). For more information on me, see my personal web page.
OpenBSD is currently being maintained and improved by 50 or more developers around the world. OpenBSD is being used as firewall software, web servers, and client machines by thousands of people around the world, in corporate and personal environments. Even the United States Department of Justice Department has OpenBSD in use. And even better, it's free. If anything, Theo's .COM does not compete with Theos Software (we just sell t-shirts).
Update: A letter is being sent to NSI (via Fedex) to cancel the dispute. When a copy of the letter reaches me (via Fedex), I will post a copy of that letter so that people can see the latest action. That letter should arrive sometime Friday...
Update: The domain dispute cancellation letter has arrived via Fedex. It is appended below.
The theos.com domain was allocated by Theo de Raadt on 20-Jan-95.
The theos-software.com domain was allocated by Theos Software Corporation on 12-Oct-95.
Now, more than 3 years later, Theos Software has hired a lawyer and think they can wrest control of this domain from me. Trademark or not, there was no contest for 3 years. In fact, rather than contesting the theos.com domainname in 1995, they chose instead to allocate theos-software.com. Now, hiring a laywer, what do they think they are doing? I've heard nothing from them before, not even seen mail bounces regarding users who do not exist in this domain, I wasn't even aware of their existance till the middle of 1997, and now they suddenly they get a lawyer involved?
Before the lawyer representing Theos Software contacted me, this web page was EMPTY. Everything it contains now has been added due to that action.
Now the Theos Software Corporate clients can see how they do business. I mean, the CEO who started this action, Tim Williams (phone 925-935-1118 ext 214), never even phoned me! At the moment, I am not even getting return phone calls. Now their lawyer is trying to get me to sign all sorts of legal documents, waste my time, and they aren't even civil enough to just phone me and TALK TO ME AS A PERSON!
The pressure from the lawyers (Michael Dalton Donahue, Gallagher, Woods and Wood, LLP, phone number 510-451-0544) representing Theos Software continues. They're now threatening to take me to court, and are sending letters to NSI about this issue.
Thus far they have offered me about $35 USD for the domain.
Theos Software customers -- should you be buying software from a company that moves straight to threatening behaviour like talking about courts, instead of starting in a civil manner by giving me a phone call?
If you really want an operating system maintained by people who don't hire lawyers, you can look at OpenBSD, a free operating system developed, improved, and used by me and thousands of people on the internet, designed specifically for security. What's going on here... is Theos Software upset that Theo's .COM happens to be owned by the main developer of a competing (but free, free competition, what a concept) product?
Tim, Michael, you know my phone number. In the meantime, my suggestion is that people mail Tim Williams and let him know how they feel.
Two letters follow. The first is the email from the lawyer, the second is the actual physical letter received via Fedex a few days ago.
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 12:48:30 -0500 From: Michael Dalton
Sender: Michael Dalton Organization: DONAHUE GALLAGHER To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Domain Name Importance: Normal X-SMF-Hop-Count: 2 MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-transfer-encoding: 7bit X-Mailer: Connect2-SMTP 4.32 MHS/SMF to SMTP Gateway Dear Mr. de Raadt, I am writing to you on behalf of my client THEOS Software Corporation, of Walnut Creek, California, the owner of trademark registrations for THEOS in the United States and in a number of other countries. Your domain name, theos.com, has come to the attention of my client. I have every reason to believe that your selection of the "theos.com" domain name was a consequence of your first name, and not of any desire to create a likelihood of confusion with my client's valuable trademark. Thus, while the domain name dispute policy of Network Solutions would allow us to challenge your use of the "theos.com" name, my client would prefer to come to an amicable arrangement with you. Our proposal is that if you transfer your domain name to my client, it would reimburse you for the cost of registering any new domain name that does not contain "theos", as well as for any costs associated with that transfer. We would also of course prepare and provide you with the necessary paperwork. My client would also to agree to forward to you any electronic mail that it receives after the transfer that was intended for you. I hope that you will find this to be a reasonable and acceptable proposal. Please feel free to call me if you wish to discuss. I can be reached by phone at 510)451-0544 or by email at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you. Michael Dalton
DONAHUE, GALLAGHER, WOODS & WOOD, LLP 300 LAKESIDE DRIVE SUITE 1900 OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA 94612-3570 MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. BOX 12979 OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA 94064-2979 March 19, 1999 VIA Federal Express Mr. Theo de Raadt 1933 6th Street, S.E. Calgary, Alberta T2G 2Y3 Canada Re: Domain Name "theos.com" Dear Mr. de Raadt: As you know, this firm represents THEOS Software Corporation in this matter. THEOS Software Corporation is the owener of trademark registrations for the mark THEOS or THEOS and design in a number of countries, including registration no. 1,457,274 in the United States; registration no. 433,535 in Canada; registration no. 93,455,679 in France; registration no. 1,156,352 in the United Kingdom. A photocopy of the Canadian registration certificate for the THEOS mark, issued in 1994, is enclosed. As that registration indicates, my client has been using the mark THEOS for computer software and hardware products since at least as early as 1985. I previously made a courteous inquiry on behalf of my client, asking whether you might be willing to consider transferring the "theos.com" domain name to my client. In response to that inquiry, you posted my letter, without my permission, on your web site in an effort, as you put it, to show the customers of THEOS Software Corporation "what type of company they are." We believe that your use of the "theos.com" domain name, which is without the permission or approval of THEOS Software Corporation, will create a likelihood of confusion with my client's THEOS mark. The fact that you believe the customers of THEOS Software Corporation will visit your website is an indication that your use and registration of the domain name is a violation of my client's trademark rights. Therefore, on behalf of THEOS Software Corporation, I once again request that you promptly either transfer such domain name to my client or cancel the domain name registration with Network Solutions, Inc, ("NSI"). If you agree to transfer the domain name registration to my client and to select another domain name aggreable to it, my client remains willing to reimburse you for the cost of registering such domain name, provided it does not include the term "Theos." Please indicate your willingness to comply with this request by signing the copy of this letter enclosed with the original and returning it to me in the enclosed envolope by April 5, 1999, along with either a copy of your correspondence to NSI withdrawing your domain name registeration or a completed Registrant Name Change Agreement transferring the "theos.com" domain name to my client. Very truly yours, (signed) Michael J. Dalton MJD/dg Enclosures: cc: Network Solutions, Inc. (w/encls.) AGREED TO THIS ________ DAY OF _____________, 1999: ________________ Theo de Raadt
To summarize, this is what happened over the last 24 hours. Most of this happened
while I was downtown bemoaning a lawyer-infested world over a beer with a friend.
Basically, I believe that we have entered a brave new representative age where people who choose to be vocal can finally contact people who are doing `bad things', and get their message to the right place. Remember this in the future -- most corporations who you may want to complain to do not have server capacity to handle the complaints from a mob of angry people.
DONAHUE, GALLAGHER, WOODS & WOOD, LLP 300 LAKESIDE DRIVE SUITE 1900 OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA 94612-3570 MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. BOX 12979 OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA 94064-2979 March 25, 1999 VIA Federal Express Mr. David M. Graves Network Solutions, Inc. 505 Huntmar Park Drive Herndon, Virginia 22070 Ree: Domain Name Dispute - "theos.com" Dear Mr. Graves: This firm represents THEOS Software Corporation. The dispute between THEOS Software Corporation and Mr. Theo de Raadt concerning the "theos.com" domain name has been resolved, and THEOS Software will not be making any further claim against Mr. de Raadt at this time or in the future under your company's domain name dispute resolution policy. Very truly yours, (signed) Michael J. Dalton MJD/dg cc: Theo de Raadt (via FedEx)
I have learned a lot about trademarks and such, and people with similar myname.com domain disputes can contact me for help. Things to look for are:
Thank you, Internet.