An Internet storm has broken out after an obscure UK-based cloud hosting firm apparently gained the upper hand in a battle with the Python Software Foundation (PSF) over which organisation should have rights to use the programming language’s famous name.

Matters escalated after an impassioned blog by PSF chairman Van Lindberg asked for donations to fight the organisation’s case after an obscure company called Our Host Ltd (or Veber) claimed the right to the Python trademark to market server products.

Lindberg said they’d contacted the hosting firm who “blew us off and responded by filing the community trademark application claiming the exclusive right to use ‘Python’ for software, servers, and web services - everywhere in Europe.”

By Monday some of the websites associated with the Our Host apparently gone down under the weight of traffic being directed at them, though whether caused by simple interest or deliberate effort is unclear.

In comments to The Guardian newspaper, managing director Tim Poultney also claimed he had received death threats since the dispute became public.

The genesis of the dispute is that the hoster has used the domain name for 13 years before asserting its rights to the trademark last April.

The PSF now claims that it had been unable to submit an application until less than two weeks ago due to financial constraints. The Python trademark had been registered separately in the US in 2004.

If the battle becomes legal, the PSF will need not only funds to fight its corner – hence the financial appeal – but to prove that it has been using the ‘Python’ name over the last 20 years of its existence.

“Some of the best pieces of evidence we can submit to the European trademark office are official letters from well-known companies "using Python-branded software in various member states of the EU," wrote Lindberg.

The Foundation now wanted the community to supply written testimony of the programming language had been used to build software, he added.

“This is the first time the PSF has to take legal action to protect Python's intellectual property. Please do consider helping the PSF in any way you can.”

The threat is real and can potentially harm your business in Europe, especially if you are in the web hosting business and provide Python as part of your hosting plans,” said Lindberg.