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Re: trademark licenses and DFSG: a summary

Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org>
> MJ Ray <mjr@phonecoop.coop> writes:
> > Uoti Urpala <uoti.urpala@pp1.inet.fi>
> >> [...] A meaningful trademark license cannot permit everything permitted
> >> under the DFSG; at some point you do have to rebrand the software and
> >> remove use of trademarks to be allowed to further exercise DFSG
> >> freedoms (a limitation allowed by DFSG 4).
> > Hi! This looks like the unproven step. Why can't it?
> Because you will lose the trademark if you allow anyone to do anything
> whatsoever with the mark. [...]

OK, I'll accept the implied assertion that happens in practice.
I think that's called "genericide", isn't it?

But I'm not seeking a licence that allows "anyone to do anything
whatsoever".  We're talking about permitting "everything permitted
under the debian free software guidelines", which I think could
include describing some boundaries beyond which it would need renaming
as permitted by guideline 4, which would seem like enough to stop it
becoming generic.

However, I've read some things claiming that generic simply means "not
used to exclusively identify the products of a particular business"
which I don't think can be right because that would appear to be a
problem for a lot of non-trading organisations that have registered
trademarks.  Is there a neat definition or helpful near-borderline
examples of when genericide occurs?

> > I could have sworn I'd seen at least one: OpenJDK or something like that
> > - was it not meaningful in your opinion, has the law changed since, or
> > something else?
> There are a lot of trademarks that are still claimed but that, in
> practice, are probably indefensible in court and would be rescinded if
> they were ever challenged because they've not been defended by their
> holders and substantial public confusion already exists.
> Note, though, that as I understand it people have to actually *use* the
> permissive grant that you've given them and create confusing products to
> undermine your mark.  If you let people do it, but no one does, that's a
> different situation.

It was http://openjdk.java.net/legal/openjdk-trademark-notice.html

I'm pretty sure that we've actually called openjdk by that name, but
has Sun-now-Oracle ever prosecuted anyone for infringing it?

Thanks for your help,
MJ Ray (slef), member of www.software.coop, a for-more-than-profit co-op.
http://koha-community.org supporter, web and library systems developer.
In My Opinion Only: see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html
Available for hire (including development) at http://www.software.coop/

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