Kali Linux Trademarks

Kali Linux Trademarks

It’s been a year since we’ve released Kali Linux, and we’re happy to see it succeed. Kali has surpassed BackTrack Linux in many ways and the community is responding accordingly. Between the improved development cycle, more attentive support, and larger community, Kali Linux has reached new heights of popularity. This popularity however, does not come without its own issues. One of the big problems we’ve been facing in the past year is rampant violations of our Kali Linux Trademarks.

Why Trademark in the First Place ?

Trademarks are important – they help people and organizations publicly identify their products or services and prevent others from misusing these marks. Trademarks are also a means of controlling the quality of the message by making it recognizable and distinguishable from others in the marketplace.

So Where’s the Problem ?

While we have never profiteered from our Kali Linux trademarks and have no intention to do so in the future, we do feel the need to protect our brand name from misuse or misrepresentation. Here are a couple of examples of recurring issues we’ve had to deal with:


  • Possible Product Confusion – Offensive Security has a course called “Penetration Testing with Kali Linux“, therefore it would make sense to protect this name from use by others. Having a company operating in the same space and offer the same product name would be a bit like having Apple release a laptop named “Thinkpad Pro”.
  • Brand Misrepresentation – There have been a bunch of various Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and other information sources, which have been created to seem to belong to the Kali Linux project. This sort of misrepresentation erodes our marks and potentially puts our users at risk. This is a tougher task to keep under wraps, as each fake account needs to be identified and dealt with separately.


Kali in the Community

We have always been happy to see BackTrack, and now Kali, being used in the security arena. We have actively encouraged it and supported other companies and individuals in doing so. All of our community projects, from Kali Linux, Exploit Database, Metasploit Unleashed, and so on, have been created and released under a community spirit. Our reputation is built on giving back to the community from which we’ve come from.

To Summarize

Using Kali Linux for commercial purposes is not only allowed, but encouraged. Whether you’re a penetration tester, an infosec trainer, or a book author, we build and release Kali Linux for you to put to use. If you’re not going to impersonate us or intentionally confuse our product names, from our standpoint, you’re helping to enrich and expand Kali Linux – and we thank you for that. If any of this is confusing, don’t hesitate to contact us for clarification. We’re a happy bunch that rarely bite.