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Re: On the uselessness of Debian trademarks.

MJ Ray wrote:

> On 2004-05-07 14:55:36 +0100 Stephen Frost <sfrost@snowman.net> wrote:
>> * MJ Ray (mjr@dsl.pipex.com) wrote:
>>> If it's software, it seems illegal anyway. If it's not software,
>>> it's
>>> probably outside the scope of debian's registered trademark.
>> Uh, it'd only be illegal if we have a trademark on Debian which made
>> is
>> illegal.  If we don't then I don't think we'd have a leg to stand on
>> there.
> Maybe illegal is the wrong word. I believe we could still prosecute
> for "passing off" without a trademark? There is an identifiable group
> called debian with a presence in the UK, so one arguably cannot
> produce software called "debian ..." without their involvement or
> approval without causing confusion with this prior group.

Yes.  That's called "trademark law".  It's part of the common law. 
Registration is optional.

Just in case you were wondering, "Debian", the Debian "swirl", and the
Debian "swirl with bottle" are trademarks of the Debian Project.  Already. 
This is a matter of fact, and I bet we could prove it in court. It helps to
register them if you plan to sue anyone, but it's not obligatory.

> I'll need to
> look this up again, as it's common law not legislation, but it's the
> same reason that you cannot call your product "MJ Ray's Moolie Grater"
The names of individual people often have special rules as well (relating to
impersonation), but Debian is not the name of an individual person.

> if I produce moolie graters and that's not your one.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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