[Ogg/Vorbis Audio RSS] [MP3 Audio RSS] Oggcast

Some of What You Need to Know About Trademarks

Software Freedom Law Show episode 0x22

[Get podcast in Ogg/Vorbis format]
[Get podcast in MP3 format]

Karen and Bradley discuss some basic issues regarding trademarks for Free Software projects.

Running time: 00:58:13.

Show Notes

Segment 0 (00:33)

Segment 1 (14:06)

  • Karen mentioned the slides of her talk would be on the SFLC website. (14:20)
  • Trademark rights originate when you use a certain name and/or logo. (15:30)
  • You have to use the mark “in commerce” (though for a short period of time you can file for registration with “intent to use”); to have the mark; however, the rules and lingo seem a bit “old fashioned” when focused on online publication and distribution of free software. (16:30)
  • The most obvious benefit of registering a trademark is that registration is clear notice that the mark is being used, and creates a presumption of notice and ownership. (18:15)
  • There are other Karen Sandlers, such as a Romance novelist and HIV researcher and doctor. (19:49)
  • There is a Brad Kuhn (not Bradley) race car driver and a Bradley Kuhn killed in Arizona in 2008. (20:17)
  • Bradley mentioned an issue of Sony's Restaurant in Baltimore in 1987, which was Bradley's first introduction to trademark law. (22:23)
  • The Madrid Protocol is a treaty that helps people who have registered trademarks in one country to easily obtain registrations in other countries. (27:05)
  • Trademarks are indefinite. A trademark can be kept as long as you maintain it and continue to use it. Copyrights, by contrast, are supposed to be limited by how long they can be held (but in reality don't seem to be, due to copyright extension lobby). (37:15)
  • The GNU name actually carefully avoid trademark infringement of Unix by having the name say explicitly: GNU's Not Unix. (39:50)
  • The classic example of a genericized trademark is “xerox” becoming a verb to mean “to photocopy”. (41:43)
  • Bradley used a Used a vi implementation called vile on MS-DOS before he had a Unix-like system on his computer. (45:10)
  • Karen recommends that Free Software projects adopt explicit trademark policies that explicitly permit all the types of uses that the project wants to permit. (47:13)
  • Trademark implies some sort of quality control; “naked licensing” refers to giving a license without monitoring quality. (48:50)
  • Trademark policy statements can be good tools to help handle “naked licensing” issues. (52:10)
  • Bradley briefly mentioned the Iceweasel rename of Firefox in Debian. (52:40)

Tags: bkuhn, karen, trademarks

Send feedback and comments on the oggcast to <oggcast@softwarefreedom.org> or <oggcast@faif.us>. You can keep in touch with the SFLC on our IRC channel, #sflc on irc.freenode.net, and by following SFLC on identi.ca.

Other Oggcasts...