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Can extensions be trademarked? (.asp, .php etc.)

Posted on 2004-09-01
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
Hello.

I have developed a proprietary web scripting language and I need an extension to associate the scripts with.

  1. If I were to use .asp (acronym for Alpine Server Pages) as the extension for my scripts,
     could Microsoft successfully sue me for using .asp as an extension?

  2. If I were to used .alp as the extension for my scripts, and five years from now a larger company
     trademarked .alp as an extension, could I be successfully sued?

In your comments, please identify your qualifications (or lack there of) so I will know how safe I am following your advice :-)

Thanks!
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Question by:hankknight
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deane_barker earned 500 total points
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I have no qualifications other than having been around a block a few times...

I highly doubt there are any trademarks with file extensions, because you can configure a Web server to do anything with any file extension.  I can make my Apache server render .asp files using PHP, and there's nothing Microsoft can do about it.  I can't imagine any scenario where you can be successfully sued over this.

However, there is a practical issue in that you just should't duplicate like this with apps running on the same platform.  Does your system run on Windows?  What if someone wants to use it on IIS alongside traditional ASP pages and they want to continue processing ASP pages using the ASP.dll?  While I doubt there are legal issues, namespaces exist for a reason.

Is your platform designed so you can change the extension that identifies the script?  If you let this option be configured, rather than hard-coded, you've managed to avoid the problem altogether.

Finally, take a look at this site:

http://www.filext.com/

ALP is already in use by "LICOM AlphaCAM Laser Pos," whatever that is.

ALF has been used seven or either different times by different companies:
http://www.filext.com/detaillist.php?extdetail=ALF

I say don't worry about it.
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