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Re: Trademark Law



On 23 Dec 2002, Stephen Smoogen wrote:

> Like all such discussions that deal with the law .. get a lawyer.
> Discussions on lists are just wasted electrons because in the end, you
> will need to get a trademark lawyer involved to explain the googles of
> pages of US Trademark laws, International Trademark treaties and laws,
> and probably a hundred other items that all deal with this. 
> 
> The simplest explanation in the US is that a company MUST defend to the
> death any and all trademark claims or risk losing the trademark. The
> strangest thing is it must rigorously define what the trademark covers
> but not what it doesn't. 

I have no problem with Red Hat protecting its trademarks. My problem is
the discriminatory way it allows use of its trademarks to limit my
rights under the GPL.

Red Hat _chose_ to apply the GPL to its software collection. Red Hat
calls its collation "Red Hat Linux" but limits my rights to call the
same software "Red Hat Linux" in arbitrary ways.


> And having worked in Red Hat support for many years before going on
> elsewhere.. we had a LOT (for 5.2 about 70% of complaints) of 'I got Red
> Hat from a cdrom out of a book, resale site, etc etc.. and I want my 30
> days of support on your web-page.' People expected the name to mean what
> they read etc in news articles, on web pages, etc.

That has nothing to do with my rights under the GPL to redistribute
subject software under arrangements agreeable to myself and my clients.
If I'm installing software for users, they will not be calling on Red
Hat for installation support.

 
> So in the end, get a lawyer if you are concerned so that they can at
> least guide you through and your ass is covered. 

Even that's not certain, especially when it's not even clear (at least
to me) whose laws would apply or in whose courts a case might be heard.

In this country it's common for even High Court judges to disagree on
what the law says.

 

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