Re: proposal to change GNOME's trademark guidelines

On Thu, July 28, 2011 4:12 am, Vincent Untz wrote:
> Le mercredi 27 juillet 2011, à 20:13 -0400, Karen Sandler a écrit :
>> > This requirement is waived in all contexts where such marks are not
>> > normally included, such as email, online discussion, package names,
>> > non-graphical advertisements (when permitted), and academic papers.
>> > We encourage the use of the symbol whenever possible, but recognize
>> > that many non-commercial and informal uses will omit it.
>> We want to make sure that people can use GNOME software and talk about
>> it
>> freely without unreasonable restrictions. The aim is to adopt this
>> amendment to the policy in two weeks if there are no objections. Public
>> discussion here about it would be great, and folks can contact me
>> privately too if they want to.
> +1 for this change.
> But I wonder if we shouldn't go further: I find it really ugly that we
> have to put the TM next to the GNOME logo on our t-shirts, for
> instance... If this is covered by the "many non-commercial and informal
> uses" that will omit the symbol, then I actually wonder: when should it
> not be omitted?

I think that the use of the logo on a t-shirt isn't an informal use
(and maybe not a non-commercial one either, sorry for the double
negatives). Of course, these guidelines only apply to third parties, not
to the holder of the mark so if the GNOME Foundation itself wanted to make
shirts without the notices it could. Using the notices is a good idea
because it lets people know that there is a mark and that it's being used
in certain ways. The law looks to whether the mark was well known as such
and notice is a part of this. (And we'd want to make sure we protect the
mark enough to stop others from abusing it.) As with most aspects of
trademark law, it's really about whether people would be confused about
the mark and notices help with that. Notices can also be really small :)

You definitely make an interesting point, and sometimes trademark policies
require only the use of the notices either the first time it's used or in
some prominent place. I think adding this new provision generally makes it
much easier to do what we are already doing. There are also other parts of
the guidelines that could also be revisited and improved, but it's
probably worth fixing the problem that we have in front of us now and
that's easy to fix. I don't think we should allow third parties to use our
logo on shirts without including our notice. The Foundation could also
grant exceptions on a case by case basis if that makes sense (the policy
does invite people to email and ask for more permissions).

I'm at OSCON so sorry if I'm slow to respond!


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