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Re: The current Trademark License Agreement is unacceptable



On 08/28/2009 02:15 PM, Dimitris Glezos wrote:
> Exactly how does our capability of enforcing the trademark to ONE BAD site change,
> depending on 99 other sites which either have a signed agreement or
> not?

IANAL, so please keep that in mind. I'm sure that Luis or Pam will
correct me if I am incorrect. :)

My understanding is that the holder of registered trademarks have to
"enforce the registration in the event of infringement" or they will
lose the trademark. Basically, you have to be constantly vigilant or you
are putting your trademark at serious risk.

There are two simple ways to accomplish this:

1. Don't let anyone else use your registered trademark.
2. Require anyone who uses it to do so under explicit agreement from
you, so that if they end up doing something to infringe your trademark,
you have solid legal ground to stand on, and don't risk losing your
trademark as a result.

> My question still remains: Are these processes EFFECTIVE? Do we
> protect the trademarks from the bad people, or are we just forbidding
> old ladies from flying with nailclippers?

They are. If we permitted anyone to do whatever they wanted to do with
the Fedora trademark, then tried to go after someone who was using it
maliciously, that malicious user would easily be able to argue that we
had failed to enforce our trademarks, because everyone else was using
our trademarks without permission (even though their use was not malicious).

With the agreement in place, we can clearly indicate that the only
authorized users are those who have been granted permission and are
using our marks within the guidelines set out by us. (And, that the
malicious user is outside of the bounds of that agreement, so it is even
more clear that we do not consider their malicious use acceptable (even
though they have not signed it).

The trick here is to make those guidelines map up with the non-malicious
use cases, basically, to permit our community to use them for "good". We
have no intention of revoking use of the trademarks from anyone who is
behaving within the bounds of the agreement.

To abuse an analogy:

If there is a sign at the town swimming pool, which lists the rules as
follows:

1. No diving.
2. No eating in the pool.
3. No peeing in the pool.
4. Failure to follow the rules will result in immediate ejection from
the pool.

Most folks aren't going to dive or eat or pee in the pool. Some folks
will think better of their cunning plan to pee in the pool when they
think no one is looking. A select few will ignore the rules, but the
lifeguard is going to point out the rules that they've broken when
they're being tossed out.

Without the rules, most folks aren't going to dive or eat or pee in the
pool. Some folks will pee in the pool because they didn't know better.
And those select few who want to cause trouble will loudly proclaim that
because there were no rules for anyone, they're being unfairly singled
out for their actions, and refuse to leave the pool.

*****

I think the point that we should take away here is that yes, we need to
have a Trademark License Agreement (in an ideal universe, perhaps not,
but the one we live in requires it as a understood and accepted way to
enforce trademark usage). Lets focus on the points where the agreement
is unclear and work with Red Hat Legal to clarify or amend those sections.

~spot


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