No trademark issue

I am forwarding Eben Moglen's explanation of trademark issues
concerning the code of GNOME.  Eben Moglen is a law professor and
founded the Software Freedom Law Center.  He specifically addresses
the case of an error message, but I expect it is the same for any sort
of string in the code, and comments, and text in the documentation.

Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2006 09:44:56 -0400
To: rms gnu org
Subject: Re: [alan lxorguk ukuu org uk: Re: Substituting "Linux" with "GNU/Linux" or "GNU"]
From: Eben Moglen <moglen columbia edu>

RMS has asked me to provide a brief explanation of the effect of
trademarking the names GNU and Linux, both of which are
internationally registered marks.  Trademark law varies in its
details from country to country, but the essence everywhere is the
prevention of consumer confusion as to the source or origin of
commercial products (to use the specific formulation of words in the
US Lanham Act).  If, therefore, you want to sell a product called
"Purple Spats Linux" or "Just Plain GNU," you need a trademark
license.  When you use someone else's trademark in an advertisement
or commercial solicitation, it is conventional also to identify the
holder of the mark in small type, to assure that there is no
confusion about its ownership, even though for this form of use no
license is required.  A competitor may freely use product names and
marks for the purpose of comparative advertising, for example, so
long as there is no confusion about whose goods are whose.

A message displayed by an already-acquired product in use, like any
other ancillary mention of the name, requires no trademark license
because it does not risk the sort of consumer confusion that could
cause the damage of lost sales.  That's also why journalism, 
product reviews, and third-party documentation don't require a
trademark license.

Accordingly, it doesn't require a license from the Free Software
Foundation to use "GNU" in a program error message, and it doesn't
require a license from the Linux Mark Institute to say "Linux" in the
same context.  The total number of licenses required for "GNU/Linux"
is still zero.

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