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Re: An official trademark policy for CheapBytes-type RHL CDs?

On Sun, 17 Aug 2003, Lance Davis wrote:

>We have always felt that cheap cds are a good way to introduce new 
>users to different distributions, and some will then go on to purchase 
>boxed products or support contracts, or recommend that their companies 
>roll out a particular distro and it really hasnt done redhat any favours 
>having their brand diluted, or sold as 'pink tie' etc , possibly because 
>of their lawyers misunderstanding of the way that gpl software is distributed.

Red Hat has very good lawyers who know a lot about the GPL and have
spent most of their time defending it when used in products that do not
give any support. The main issue is that TradeMark law is very very
explicit. If a company does not defend their trademarks to the death
they will lose them if challenged later on it. It is up to the owner of
the trademark to show that they have done their best in making sure that
the trademark is not used by others no matter how silly the case may be.  
In comparison to normal trademark controls Red Hat has been very good
about even allowing the name to be licensed.

One of the big issues other than Trademark concerns was that the number 
of support tickets that would be opened to Red Hat when the product was 
bought without Red Hat support elsewhere. At one point in 1998, for 
every 5 tickets being opened up, about 1 was for a CheapBytes CD, 2 were 
for MacMillan CD's, and the other 2 were legitimate tickets. It didnt 
matter that the CDroms had labels telling them to get their support at 
XYZ place. The people would still go to www.redhat.com and expect it to 
be supported because it had Red Hat's name on it. 

Stephen John Smoogen            smoogen lanl gov
Los Alamos National Labrador  CCN-5 Sched 5/40  PH: 5-8058
Ta-03 SM-261  MailStop P208 DP 17U  Los Alamos, NM 87545
-- So shines a good deed in a weary world. = Willy Wonka --

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