Re: Minutes of the Board meeting of October 29th, 2013

On 2013-11-29 03:20, Vincent Untz wrote:
Hi Karen,

Le mardi 26 novembre 2013, à 00:47 -0500, Karen Sandler a écrit :
As a lawyer I want to point out that the main thing about our trademark is to make sure that users (under the law: consumers) aren't confused about what comes from GNOME and what doesn't. This is extremely helpful when you
have real jerks who try to distribute software that isn't GNOME or free
software but use our name and logo to fool people into downloading it.I
have seen some really bizarre uses of our logo and to my knowledge we have only enforced when we think the use is confusing. As was also pointed out by someone else, we've had many friendly discussions that have resulted in
better uses of the marks for all.

Do you have some concrete examples of confusing/misleading uses of our
logo where we had to enforce our trademark?

Sure! There was an android app that was using our logo as their icon. They had nothing to do with GNOME. They just changed their logo/icon when we asked them to in a friendly way (after a little bit of follow up). There was a software consultant that was using our logo on his webpage (and he was not working on GNOME). There are others (and a couple I have outstanding to follow up on) but those are the ones that occur to me now as obviously confusing use of our trademark in software.

It's been obviously quite some time, but from my years in the board, I
only remember misuses that were actually not in the software field, and
I wonder if things are the same or if it got worse.

There are still a lot of uses that are not in the software field, but often in these cases when the logo has been modified, because it's not related to software that often is ok as no one would be confused. Like the time that someone used our logo for a fish pedicure business, turning the base of the foot into a fish :) (I loved that, as its the perfect example of how it's beneficial to license the copyright of a logo freely even as you exert trademark restrictions over it, something that's hard for trademark lawyers to grasp).

Also, how do we define the right balance? In the Ubuntu GNOME example, I
would consider the project to be both part of the Ubuntu and GNOME
communities, so imho, it should be entitled to use our trademark.

I think they should definitely be able to use the mark. I still think the right thing to do is to talk to them to find the best use of it for both projects. We did the same thing in a friendly way with Debian, even, as well as with events related to GNOME. Obviously we feel great about the activities and the use of the mark in principal. I don't think that this is a big problem. Because Ubuntu is not the GNOME Foundation, if the use is outside our 3rd party trademark guidelines (which again, I think can be improved), we either need to grant them special permission or ask them to change it to be consistent with our guidelines and continue to establish a legal record of regular defense. I would expect them to want to talk to us about what works as well (for example,it was awesome that they consulted us about what name they should use). This shouldn't be an adversarial thing at all.


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