[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Trademark scope (just for the record)

Quoting Ken Arromdee (arromdee@rahul.net):

> On Thu, 6 Sep 2007, Rick Moen wrote:
> > Pepsico doesn't ask the Coca-Cola Company's permission to publish
> > claims that its sugar-water is better tasting than is Coca-Cola.
> > That ought to be a big, fat clue, but far too many people have been
> > successfully conned and don't think about the implications.
> But on the other hand, Pepsi doesn't put out a soft drink which says
> on the label "This is Coca-Cola, but it is not produced or endorsed by
> the Coca-Cola Corporation".

I didn't say it is.

To repeat myself, yet again:

  I was not suggesting that was the case.  Read what I _said_, please.  I
  was pointing out one huge clue, from the realm of everyday commerce,
  that should have alerted Debian users to the fact that, no, it is not
  true that one must ask a trademark owner's permission to use that mark.

  My point is that I've never seen any sign of awareness from Debian
  Project people or on this illustrious mailing list of that basic truth.

> In the Mozilla example, Debian's using the word to refer to their own
> product. 

I am of course aware of that difference.  Again, to repeat myself:

  Nominative fair use expressly _permits_ use of names and other mark
  elements, as long as the net effect that customers are not likely to 
  believe that the product with the allegedly confusing mark is produced 
  / endorsed by the organization that holds the registered mark.  A 
  judicious distance in brand identity might make it prudent that Bob 
  name his offering "Bob's Earthbadger", but isn't going to bar him 
  from making reference to the earth and badgers.  Bob would not, 
  for example, have to substitute references to ice and weasels.

My aim in this thread was _not_ to get Debian Project to reverse a
stupid, but already implemented, decision.  That's why the Subject 
header was "Trademark scope (just for the record)".

If I've had no greater effect than to call people's attention to the
fundamental error of thinking one must secure a trademark owner's
permission to use a brand name or identifying marks, then it will not
have been time wasted.

(E.g., you'll note that CentOS stupidly expunged all references to "Red
Hat" and "Red Hat Enterprise Linux" upon receipt of a trademark demand
letter from Red Hat Legal, and substituted vague references to "an
Enterprise-class Linux Distribution derived from sources freely provided
to the public by a prominent North American Enterprise Linux vendor."
That's just undignified, to be that spineless and bully-able, just
because you're ignorant and can't be bothered to consult standard
information resources about law.)


Reply to: