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Re: trademark infringement FreeFOAM

On Sun, 21 Nov 2010 16:04:30 +0100 Gerber van der Graaf wrote:

> I have to correct  something: Holger Marschall, the author of the
> "OpenFOAM Documentation Project", explained me he only received some
> emails where OpenCFD threatened him to write a letter of legally valid
> cease and desist letter. He actually did not receive it as he put down
> the website. Also, after he named it to "FOAM Documentation Project",
> which was put down after OpenCFD complained.

Were the threats from OpenCFD Ltd. received *before* or *after* the
renaming from "OpenFOAM Documentation Project" to "FOAM Documentation
If the answer is "after", I think this could indicate that OpenCFD Ltd.
is willing to lay claims on the "FOAM" term... I don't know whether
such claims would hold in a court, but OpenCFD Ltd. seems to *think*
they would.

> As stated in the OpnCFD trademark policies, the naming OpenFOAM and
> abbreviations are explicitly forbidden.
> http://www.openfoam.com/legal/trademark-policy.php
> That said I wonder if FreeFOAM is considered as trademark infringement,
> even by OpenCFD, as a derived naming is not explicitly mentioned to be
> forbidden.

Well, there's point 7 of the above-mentioned trademark policy, which
states, in part:

| Third Parties must not market products or services using the Trade
| Marks or any wording that is confusingly similar to the Trade Marks
[...]   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

If I recall correctly, the concept of "confusingly similar" wording
comes from trademark laws, which forbid unauthorized uses of a
trademark and or any mark which is confusingly similar to the trademark

However, whether OpenCFD Ltd. (or a court of law) would consider
"FreeFOAM" confusingly similar to "OpenFOAM" is still to be assessed.

> Therefore, I still have my doubts if even renaming of the FreeFOAM
> project is required.

My suggestion to rename FreeFOAM is mainly driven by the goal of
minimizing the risk of your project name being deemed confusingly
similar to "OpenFOAM".

> I will ask an attorney at our university for this.

Good idea: I hope he/she can help you in the difficult task of finding
a safe way through trademark laws!    ;-)

> In addition, the trademark 'Freefoam' has already been used by a
> construction company and I found two registered US trademarks
> (extrusion / machinery and a travel luggage and bags company). Whether
> these companies will be annoyed by our software project remains to be
> seen.

As far as I know (but, I repeat, I am not a lawyer), trademark
infringement occurs when an identical or confusingly similar trademark
is used by an unauthorized party *for products which are similar to
the one covered by the infringed trademark*.

This may mean that the use of "Freefoam" in other markets than
extrusion machinery or travel luggage cannot be objected to by those
two companies...

> At least, this might obstruct OpnCFD to go after FreeFOAM.

I am not sure...

> Thanks a lot for your contributions in searching a new name for the
> FreeFOAM project. We will definitely take them into account.

You're welcome, indeed.
Have a nice day.

 Need some pdebuild hook scripts?
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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