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Pink Hat vs. Red Hat. No, the other Red Hat

A legal spat has broken out in the realm of the colored hats, with one entity accusing another of trademark violation, "causing significant confusion in the marketplace."

But the confusion isn't between Red Hat and the Red Hat Society, as one might have expected. It's between the Red Hat Society and the Pink Hat Society.

The former sent a cease-and-desist letter to the latter, according to the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, a Web site run by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and several universities that monitors such legal warnings.

"While the Red Hat Society appreciates your apparent fondness and support, we have an obligation to prevent public confusion and misuse of our trademarks. Therefore, the Red Hat Society asks that you immediately cease and desist the use of the term 'Pink Hat Society' and 'Pink Hat Ladies.' Also, cease and desist the use of the domain name as well as transfer the domain name to the Red Hat Society," the letter said.

The Red Hat Society is a social group for women over age 50 who wear red hats and purple outfits. Women under 50 also may join, though they have to wear pink hats and lavender outfits.

So far, most people haven't had difficulty confusing the social group with the purveyor of Linux, said Leigh Day, spokeswoman for the software company, adding that each has its own trademarks. There's no word whether Shadowman has ever met Ruby Redhat.