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Re: Misuse of Debian logo for City Tourism

On Sat, Aug 02, 2008 at 10:04:07PM -0700, Claire Connelly wrote:

> There are 9624 registered U.S. trademark designs incorporating
> spirals.*  Many of these are somewhat similar to one another; there
> are typically other elements (e.g., colors, wordmarks, number,
> arrangement) that differentiate them from one another.

> Taking a step back, though, I don't see evidence that Debian's
> logos are trademarked at all, at least in the U.S.  Searching the
> USPTO database shows a single hit for Debian, for the word-only
> mark ``Debian'' as applied to ``Computer Utility and Operating
> System Software'' [0].  That trademark is held by SPI.

> The detailed file [1] includes two sets of ``specimens'', one of
> which is a screenshot of the Debian.org website showing the spiral
> logo, but the other includes images of a CD and the docs for
> Debian 1.3, which have a cute stack of letter blocks arranged to
> spell Debian.**

> So if the spiral logo isn't trademarked, then any infringement
> claims related to the logo have to fall back on copyright, which
> covers the specific expression and not the general theme.

Under US law, trademarks exist when one trades on them, not just when one
registers them.  We *should* register the Debian logo as a trademark with
the USPTO (and I think this is still under way... I hope?), but the
continued delays in registration don't mean it's not a trademark, it just
makes it harder to enforce it.

But under trademark law, there's no reason to think that this city's video
is infringing, since it's nowhere near the same field...

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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