Re: Registering the Debian Logo as our trademark?
On Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 4:37 PM, Yaroslav Halchenko
> On Mon, 22 Apr 2013, Brian Gupta wrote:
>> > Just to make sure: you are talking not about swirl alone, but rather
>> > about swirl + word Debian. Is that correct?
>> Yes, the swirl alone.
> Could it be trademarked? I thought that because of its unfortunately
> common origin there is so many of existing uses of it by others
> (although not sure if any are "IT related") which would preclude
> it to be registered for our project. I could be utterly wrong and would
> not mind at all to be corrected ;-)
Simplicity or ease of creation of a graphic does not preclude it from
being registered. I earlier gave the classic example of the "Nike
Swoosh" as a very simple graphic that has been trademarked:
Remember we are not registering a generic swirl/spiral, but our
particular take on the spiral/swirl, which we have been using the
represent the Debian Project since 1999.
I did do a search of EVERY registered graphic trademark with the
metadata "spiral" or "swirl" and none even really resembled our logo.
(And there were a number that were simpler than ours.)
I do know there is some confusion as to "simple geometric shapes",
because Copyright law has a higher bar of compliance to register
common shapes. IE: One isn't really able copyright an image that
consists of simple shapes like a single line, arrow, circle or square.
Trademarks have no such restriction, it would just be harder to prove
an association with your brand, and uniqueness, if you tried to
register, say a single line, as one's trademark. (Which certainly
would be used everywhere and be dilutive to the point of being
I'll also, add that if we move forward, I will certainly share any
issues and concerns raised with the SFLC, from this discussion.
Remember, we are treating the logo as our "common law" trademark today.
>> > On Mon, 22 Apr 2013, Brian Gupta wrote:
>> >> Hi all,
>> >> I have been helping to field trademark inquiries for Debian since late
>> >> February, and the issue of our Logo has come up a number of times.
>> >> Currently, our logo is not a registered Trademark, but is considered
>> >> (and treated by our current Trademark policy) as a "common law"
>> >> trademark, in that we have been using it to represent Debian for many
>> >> years, and many people see it and recognize it as "Debian's logo".
>> >> I know there have been discussions in the past about moving forward
>> >> with officially registering the logo, but these discussions seem to
>> >> have not ended with a clear decision or agreement one way or another,
>> >> hence the status quo of unregistered common law trademark.
>> >> Generally speaking, as a matter of law, it would be better if we
>> >> registered our logo as our Trademark. We had also gotten advice from
>> >> our legal counsel (SFLC) encouraging us to do so.
>> >> I don't believe any changes would be required to our Trademark policy
>> >> to accomodate the change from "common law" to "registered" trademark,
>> >> we'd just have the benefit that we'd have an easier time protecting
>> >> it, if we ever found a need to do so.
>> >> Here is the Debian Trademark Policy 2.0  guidance on using logos:
>> >> "Guidelines for Using Logos
>> >> - Any scaling must retain the original proportions of the logo.
>> >> - Do not use the Debian logos as part of your company logo or product
>> >> logo or branding itself. They can be used as part of a page describing
>> >> your products or services.
>> >> - You need not ask us for permission to use logos on your own website
>> >> solely as a hyperlink to the Debian project website."
>> >> Some may wonder if Registering our logo as a trademark is possible
>> >> with the logo under a fairly liberal Free Software license. The answer
>> >> is yes, as Copyrights are a different set of rights than Trademark.
>> >> Bear in mind or Logo is already one of our Trademarks, we just don't
>> >> have it registered.
>> >> Another question that one might raise is, "What if the USPTO rejects
>> >> our logo as too simple, and not creative enough?" In answer, this is
>> >> not a criteria for acceptance. If the mark is distinctive, and unique,
>> >> and isn't already registered, it doesn't really matter how simple or
>> >> complex a design is. e.g. - Think of the "Nike Swoosh".
>> >> I would like to work to address what I perceive to be a bug, and get
>> >> our logo official registered. I spoke to leader@ (Lucas) about this,
>> >> and he said that I should first start a dicussion on -project laying
>> >> out the pros and cons, with examples of what other similar projects
>> >> are doing.
>> >> Pros:
>> >> -----
>> >> - Makes it easier, legally speaking, to protect our trademark, if it
>> >> ever came to it
>> >> - When companies are doing trademark searches for logos in the
>> >> trademark database, they would be discouraged from using our logo, as
>> >> it is would be in the database.
>> >> - If a company tries to register a logo trademark that is the same as
>> >> ours, the USPTO should not allow it, since it is in their database. (I
>> >> say should, as mistakes can happen)
>> >> Cons:
>> >> -----
>> >> - Filing costs of ~$700
>> >> - Labor/work required to file (With assistance from SFLC, I am willing
>> >> to do much of the work required.)
>> >> - Required extra coordination with SPI
>> >> - If someone has already filed our logo as a trademark, we will be
>> >> forced into a situation where we need to deal with that. (I have
>> >> already done a preliminary search of the USPTO database, and found no
>> >> such occurrences, so feel this risk is minimal.)
>> >> - In order to maintain the status of a federally registered trademark,
>> >> the owner must file a statement of continued use and later, a renewal
>> >> application. (Again more work, which I am willing to do.)
>> >> Other projects that have registered their logo:
>> >> -----------------------------------------------
>> >> - Apache - Many trademarks, including the feather
>> >> http://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/list/
>> >> - OpenOffice - Seagull logo
>> >> http://www.openoffice.org/marketing/art/galleries/logos/
>> >> - Gentoo Linux - G logo http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/name-logo.xml
>> >> - Fedora - Multiple logos http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Logo/UsageGuidelines
>> >> - Drupal CMS - Druplicon logo http://drupal.org/node/9068
>> >> http://drupal.com/trademark
>> >> - Gnome - Gnome Foot http://www.gnome.org/foundation/legal-and-trademarks/
>> >> - Mozilla - Multiple logos (Firefox, Thunderbird and Mozilla)
>> >> http://blog.mozilla.org/press/media-library/
>> >> - KDE - KDE and the K Desktop Environment logos
>> >> http://techbase.kde.org/Template:KDE_Trademark_Notice
>> >> So far in my search of other large Free Software Projects that have a
>> >> singular graphical identify, pretty much all have a registered
>> >> graphical trademark, with the exception of the GNU project's "gnuhead"
>> >> logo. (However, FSF does still treat it as a trademark
>> >> http://www.gnu.org/graphics/agnuhead.html)
>> >> What do people feel about proceeding with this registration?
>> >> Thanks,
>> >> Brian
>> >>  - http://www.debian.org/trademark
>> > --
>> > Yaroslav O. Halchenko, Ph.D.
>> > http://neuro.debian.net http://www.pymvpa.org http://www.fail2ban.org
>> > Senior Research Associate, Psychological and Brain Sciences Dept.
>> > Dartmouth College, 419 Moore Hall, Hinman Box 6207, Hanover, NH 03755
>> > Phone: +1 (603) 646-9834 Fax: +1 (603) 646-1419
>> > WWW: http://www.linkedin.com/in/yarik
>> > --
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>> > Archive: 20130422201324.GM9056@onerussian.com">http://lists.debian.org/20130422201324.GM9056@onerussian.com
> Yaroslav O. Halchenko, Ph.D.
> http://neuro.debian.net http://www.pymvpa.org http://www.fail2ban.org
> Senior Research Associate, Psychological and Brain Sciences Dept.
> Dartmouth College, 419 Moore Hall, Hinman Box 6207, Hanover, NH 03755
> Phone: +1 (603) 646-9834 Fax: +1 (603) 646-1419
> WWW: http://www.linkedin.com/in/yarik
> To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-project-REQUEST@lists.debian.org
> with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact email@example.com
> Archive: 20130422203742.GP9056@onerussian.com">http://lists.debian.org/20130422203742.GP9056@onerussian.com