Who Owns Linux? Linus. . .And a detergent company In switzerland...
This blog post provides some list of who owns U.S. trademarks on the word "Linux.":
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In case you were wondering--and I was, given the noises Microsoft has been making lately about the open-source operating system--Linus Torvalds does indeed own the trademark on Linux. Interestingly, so does Rosch, a detergent company based in Switzerland.
How can this be? The explanation is simple. Trademarks are a little different from patents. A patent is fairly broad, and one can't copy or use something someone else has patented with permission (and, presumably, a royalty).