From Fedora Project Wiki



-!- nirik changed the topic of #fedora-classroom to: Fedora IRC Classroom - Fedora Trademarks with your teacher Paul W. Frields ( stickster ) - See Classroom for class schedule today and more info. 13:44
* stickster is all set to start on time 13:44
RocknRoll heftig: thanks got it 13:44
@nirik hello stickster. Start away when you like. ;) I think we are all set... 13:44
stickster And... they're OFF! *pow* 13:45
stickster Hi everybody! 13:45
heftig hey 13:45
vartsu_ hi 13:45
RocknRoll hi stickster 13:45
@nirik take it away stickster! ;) 13:45
stickster Today I'm here to talk to you about trademarks -- what they are, why we have them in Fedora, and talk to you about how you can use them. 13:45
stickster I'm going to start by presenting general information. Later on, I'll take specific questions about our trademark guidelines, which have recently changed (and for the better, I believe!). 13:46
MostafaDaneshvar hi stickster 13:46
stickster For right now, let's hold those questions so we can understand a little more about trademarks and why they exist. 13:46
stickster Along the way if you have questions, please let me know by sending the question mark '?'. I'll call on you in order. (If things are very quiet we may do away with this formality.) 13:46
stickster Sound good to everyone? 13:47
@herlo yes 13:47
stickster Okey dokey 13:47
mharris Sounds Ossum(TM) with an O. :) 13:47
stickster People are often confused about the difference between copyrights, patents, and trademarks. They are three very different things. 13:47
stickster A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor. 13:48
* RocknRoll yeah i am the one among them 13:48
stickster In the US, the term of a new patent is usually 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed. 13:48
stickster What is granted is *not* the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but the right to *exclude others* from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention. 13:48
stickster Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. 13:49
stickster The owner of copyright generally has the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly. 13:50
stickster (Note this has nothing to do with sale; when one copies a work without money changing hands, it's still a violation of the author's copyright.) 13:50
stickster A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device which is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. 13:51
stickster Trademark rights may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but not to prevent others from making the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark. 13:51
stickster A trademark allows consumers to tell *your* product from someone else's. 13:52
stickster Let's have an example -- everyone loves examples! 13:52
ianweller \o/ 13:52
stickster An example of a trademark is Texas Pete's Hot Sauce(TM). If you like Texas Pete's Hot Sauce, when you walk into a store to buy hot sauce, you want to be able to pick out Texas Pete's. 13:52
stickster You don't want to buy a bottle that's marked "Texas Pete's" and then when you get home, find out that it's actually someone else's inferior (in your opinion) hot sauce. 13:52
stickster The trademark allows you and the makers of Texas Pete's Hot Sauce to know that when you buy hot sauce, you're getting theirs and no one else's. 13:53
stickster In the same way, we want Fedora trademarks to be identified with our community, our project, and our operating system. 13:53
stickster That's why the Fedora Project and the things we produce, such as our distribution, various custom spins, web sites, and other goods and services, are identified by trademarks. 13:53
stickster In our case the trademarks include the words "Fedora," "Fedora Project," and our various logos, such as the stylized wordmark "fedora" and the well-known "Infinity bubble." 13:54
stickster These trademarks are the way people identify us, as opposed to other purveyors of free software projects, Linux distributions, and other related goods and services. 13:54
stickster Does this all make sense so far? 13:55
mharris yup 13:55
* RocknRoll yeah 13:55
heftig yes, i follow you 13:55
stickster A trademark is the way that consumers -- such as users, developers, contributors, vendors, and so on -- identify the things that our Project produces and maintains. 13:55
crossbytes yes 13:55
vartsu_ yep 13:55
* RocknRoll understands very clearly 13:55
mharris Although I prefer "Dave's Ultimate Insanity(TM)" hot sauce over the other one. :) 13:55
stickster (There are plenty of great hot sauces with names that are not appropriate here... but I digress...) :-) 13:56
stickster Trademarks are generally held by the person that registers them. In the case of the Fedora trademarks, they have been registered by Red Hat, Inc., on behalf of our community. 13:56
stickster There is no single place to register trademarks worldwide. However, it is possible to register trademarks in a few places to effect their ownership in a very large number of countries. 13:56
stickster In the case of Fedora, Red Hat, Inc. has registered the Fedora trademarks in as many countries as possible. 13:57
stickster I don't know the actual number or which countries may not be on that list. 13:57
stickster I *do* know that they cover all of Northern America, most if not all of South America, the EU, countries covered by the Madrid Protocol and the Andean Pact, and much of Asia. 13:58
neverho0d what about Russia? 13:58
stickster Oh, and our Aussie and Kiwi friends too of course! :-) 13:58
heftig kiwi? 13:59
stickster neverho0d: I believe Russia is as well 13:59
palango_ 13:59
stickster Kiwi == New Zealander 13:59
neverho0d stickster: thnx 13:59
crossbytes ? 13:59
stickster They're probably all asleep right now, but shout to all the kiwis anyway :-) 13:59
stickster crossbytes: go ahead! 13:59
heftig thanks. i was thinking about fruit. :p 13:59
palango_ sorry 13:59
crossbytes so if I make a custom spin for a specific school or class in a school would it still be considerd Fedora? 13:59
stickster crossbytes: We'll get to that in a little while 14:00
crossbytes or would we have to say it based on Fedora but made by CrossBytes( or Company)? 14:00
crossbytes ok sorry 14:00
stickster crossbytes: Let me come back to that topic later 14:00
stickster OK, so... 14:00
stickster From time to time, Red Hat has taken action to defend the Fedora trademarks against people trying to use them in ways that do not help our community. 14:00
stickster One recent case was a vendor of belts, shoes, and socks, that was trying to register the Fedora name and logo for use on these items of clothing. 14:00
stickster My understanding is he is a "trademark troll" in the same sense as there are "patent trolls." 14:01
stickster Because we use the Fedora trademarks on clothing to represent our community, Red Hat has spent a great deal of time defending our marks in that particular case. 14:01
stickster I believe that action is still in progress. I mention it purely as an example of how Red Hat devotes resources to making sure that our Fedora trademarks are associated around the world with our community and our Project. 14:02
stickster When a trademark holder does not protect the trademark, they face a very substantial risk of losing it, or diluting its value. 14:02
stickster Everyone ready for another example? 14:02
heftig yes 14:02
crossbytes ok 14:02
vartsu_ jep 14:02
stickster For instance, you could argue that Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Kleenex(TM) brand products, didn't do a very good job of protecting the brand value of their trademark. 14:03
stickster People have come to use the word "Kleenex" to mean any facial tissue these days. 14:03
stickster (In fact, a lot of people write it too, and don't capitalize it -- "kleenex.") 14:03
stickster So when someone says, "Can you hand me a Kleenex," you're just as likely to hand them a Puffs(TM) facial tissue, or some other generic equivalent. 14:03
mharris good example for trademark dilution. Another one is "zipper" 14:04
stickster mharris: Too true! Also, "xerox." 14:04
mharris yup 14:04
heftig ? 14:04
stickster Go ahead heftig 14:04
heftig couldn't you attribute that dilution to the popularity of the product, instead of trolls? 14:05
stickster heftig: Ah, good point! I was just getting to that! 14:05
heftig i don't know about your specific examples, but i know other local examples 14:05
stickster In one sense people using "Kleenex" when they mean "tissue" seems like it would be good, because Kleenex has become synonymous with facial tissue. 14:05
mharris heftig: Examples being "Oh, I'll just xerox you a copy of that." when they mean 'photocopy'. The hardware being used might not be a Xerox copier, it could be a Brother brand or something. Any time a company's trademark is used as a verb, it often can end up becoming diluted when used by people as a generic term even with competitor's products. 14:05
stickster Think about it also in this way: it means when a friend asks you to buy Kleenex at the store, you probably don't believe they mean it had better be Kleenex brand or nothing at all. 14:06
stickster You'd probably bring them a box of whatever was priced lowest. 14:06
stickster In other words, Johnson & Johnson's Kleenex brand value is now lower. 14:06
stickster Making distinctions between brands is one way to retain brand value, and there are many others. I'm not going to go further into that here, since it's more about marketing than trademarks. 14:06
stickster My point is that defending trademarks is an important part of retaining brand value. 14:07
stickster One way trademark owners defend trademarks is to prescribe guidelines for their proper use. 14:07
stickster Trademark owners generally have extremely rigid restrictions on how their trademarks are used. 14:08
stickster The vast majority do not allow any use of their trademarks except by explicit written permission. 14:08
stickster Forbidding all use works well for many commercial vendors, usually because they want *only* the things they produce themselves to be identified by their trademarks. 14:09
stickster If the value of your trademark is defined by how well people associate it with a single point of origin, then very tight restrictions might make sense. 14:09
stickster However, that model does not work as well for free software communities. 14:10
stickster Community members can help increase the value of the marks of the project to which they belong, by promoting it and making it attractive to users, developers, and other potential contributors. 14:10
* stickster realizes he never pointed out "IANAL, TINLA, blah blah blah." But hopefully everyone here knows that! 14:10
stickster IANAL == I Am Not A Lawyer 14:11
stickster TINLA == This Is Not Legal Advice 14:11
stickster (Duh.) 14:11
stickster So anyway... 14:11
stickster When Red Hat first created the Fedora trademark guidelines -- probably back around 2003 or so when the Project first formed -- their guidelines were almost this strict. 14:11
stickster Believe it or not, until recently, almost every single use of the Fedora trademark other than on our distribution and by our official project web sites was actually against the trademark guidelines! 14:12
stickster That even includes all the wonderful community sites that help spread Fedora in their locales and assist users worldwide. 14:12
stickster Until recently, the *only* thing you were allowed to do with the Fedora logo without special permission was put it on exact copies of the CD/DVD images we publish. 14:12
stickster Obviously, that's completely unacceptable to me as the Fedora Project Leader, and (I think) also to the many people who spend significant amounts of their time helping to promote Fedora around the globe. 14:13
stickster So last summer, I started working with the Red Hat Legal staff to write completely new guidelines. 14:13
stickster My intention was to recognize the many ways that the community can help promote our brand, and to *explicitly permit them to do it*. 14:13
stickster I started by drawing up a list of use cases. 14:14
stickster These use cases were the things I could think of that most community members want to be able to do that include the use of Fedora trademarks. 14:14
stickster I also asked for, and got, many public comments on these use cases. 14:14
stickster Examples of these use cases are representing Fedora at trade shows, promoting Fedora on personal web sites, offering Fedora media in a web store for free or sale, and so on. 14:15
stickster Then, I looked at cases where we wanted a *little* more control -- not forbidding usage, but simply requiring that someone get permission or approval first. 14:16
stickster Examples here are things like producing alternate spins of Fedora, producing non-software goods like T-shirts, and naming a local community domain. 14:16
stickster We classified these cases into those two major groups: 14:17
stickster * usage where you don't need to get any special permission, as long as you follow certain easy rules; and 14:17
stickster * usage where you do need to get permission (and still follow some rules). 14:17
stickster Note that in either case, you can't just do anything you want with the Fedora trademarks. That's an *important* point to make! 14:18
stickster Otherwise we might find ourselves in the situation of Johnson & Johnson with their Kleenex problem. 14:18
stickster So there are a number of rules that apply to *everyone* who uses the trademarks. 14:18
stickster If everyone could use the trademarks any way they wanted, they would quickly become harder to recognize. 14:19
stickster For example, if everyone was allowed to alter the logo however they wanted, how would a user be able to tell whether that altered logo actually represented something associated with the Fedora Project? 14:19
stickster That's why there are some universal rules about how trademarks and our logo can be used. 14:20
stickster Anyone using the trademarks has to follow those rules, to make sure that someone looking at them is *never* confused about whether the marks represent Fedora and the Fedora Project. 14:20
@herlo ? 14:20
stickster Go ahead herlo 14:20
@herlo stickster: could you provide us with references in this session where we can look at what you are referring? Maybe you put it up at the top and I missed it... 14:21
stickster Ah, I have it in my notes for later on 14:21
stickster but. 14:21
@herlo oh, that's fine then :) thx 14:21
stickster 14:21
stickster So anyway... 14:22
stickster Those rules are fairly common sense -- they include things like: 14:22
stickster * not altering the logo 14:22
stickster * leaving space around the logo to avoid mixing it with other logos or other surrounding elements, 14:22
stickster * not using the trademarks in a way that makes it look like Red Hat or the Fedora Project is endorsing or promoting something else 14:22
Plouj does this somehow infringe the fedora trademark: ? 14:22
stickster Plouj: Actually, yes. As it turns out, some community members that are friends of ours just bought that domain back so you should see it change soon ;-) 14:23
Plouj haha, great 14:23
stickster There are a number of other rules that apply to all Fedora trademark use, but they are mostly common sense. 14:23
stickster But to return to my main point -- we revised the guidelines *not* to stop people from doing all the valuable and essential community work going on in Fedora, but instead to make sure that in doing that, we are all promoting the Fedora brand consistently and effectively. 14:24
stickster In some cases, specific web sites may need to make very minor alterations to meet the trademark guidelines. 14:24
stickster (The "" domain obviously needs, ahem, more substantial alterations!) 14:24
mharris For the good of the project, rather than for any particular person's own gains. 14:25
stickster But from what I've seen in the past year, the vast majority of the community promotion going on out there is incredibly well done and in line with the spirit of our new guidelines. 14:25
mharris Yeah, lots of good Fedora related sites out there nowadays, all in the Fedora community spirit of things. 14:25
stickster mharris: I believe so, yes. 14:25
stickster That was the whole point -- to recognize that work, and adjust our guidelines to make more sense in light of reality. 14:26
stickster If we didn't recognize good use and ensure it was explicitly allowed, we could be in a situation of not defending our trademarks properly. 14:26
stickster Ironic but community-empowering -- by letting people use the trademarks more widely, we are actually doing a *better* job of defending those marks! 14:26
stickster Now, I direct you (in case you haven't seen them) to our official Fedora trademark guidelines, Mark II: 14:26
mharris And equally of growing the community and userbase as well. 14:26
stickster mharris: Exactly! 14:27
stickster The only point of defending marks is if they stand for something worth promoting. 14:27
stickster And of course, I think in this case, it very much is! 14:27
stickster Going through this entire page bit by bit would be incredibly boring, but I think at this point I'd like to start taking (1) questions about the previous general information, and then, after people have had a chance to read the guidelines, (2) specific questions about the new Fedora trademark guidelines. 14:28
stickster We have about 17 minutes remaining. 14:28
stickster OK, if nothing on the general part... 14:29
stickster I think crossbytes had a question about remixing. 14:29
crossbytes yes I am reading the lagal :trade.. 14:30
delhage ? 14:30
stickster delhage: Go ahead! 14:30
delhage I have a specific question regarding "Never use a trademark as a possessive" 14:31
mharris Curious how something like 'phedaura' would sit with the trademark. The spelling is not confusingly similar, whereas the pronounciation might be. 14:31
stickster Sure 14:31
delhage That might be impossible in certain languages 14:31
delhage more or less 14:31
delhage and other inclinations too 14:32
delhage I think someone wrote about it very well on the fedora-marketing-list recently 14:32
stickster delhage: Yes, I do differ with the attorneys on a couple of those guidelines, and that is one of them. I think in Slavic and other languages where you have different spellings for declination of nouns, the guidelines have to be flexible. 14:32
delhage ok 14:33
stickster I think everyone should recognize that Red Hat Legal is *not* going to come after anyone for minor or common-sense variations on the guidelines. 14:33
stickster For instance, if someone wrote a news article saying "Fedora's new release is AMAZING!", you can be sure there will be no griping from anyone, even though that's a possessive form of the trademark! :-D 14:34
delhage hehe 14:34
stickster Some of this is legal boilerplate and it is designed not to be used as a club to knock community members over the head -- rather to show that we are defending our interest in the integrity of the trademarks. 14:34
stickster mharris: You mentioned an alternate spelling... it would probably depend on the context. If someone created a Linux distribution or free software project with that name, it would probably generate some sort of response. 14:35
delhage understood 14:35
mharris stickster: right, in the same space as Fedora 14:35
stickster On the other hand, "Phedaura Hot Sauce, new from the makers of Texas Pete's!" would go by without comment :-) 14:35
mharris LOL 14:36
* stickster wants that sauce! 14:36
* stickster realizes he still has a bottle of "Open Sauce" from the Nashville Summit and wonders if it's still good. 14:36
baconfork haha 14:36
stickster unopened, I mean 14:36
* RocknRoll feeling sleepy :) 14:36
mharris Hot sauce lasts forever in my experience. 14:36
heftig your "unacceptable" examples are giving me absurd mental images. i suppose that's proof of your point :) 14:37
mharris I've got bottles in the basement that are 3+ years old that taste fine 14:37
stickster heftig: Right :-) 14:37
stickster mharris: This was more BBQ sauce I think -- which makes me worry given the probable sugar content 14:37
mharris BBQ sauce I've gone up to 2 years with so far and been ok, but probably depends on the brand and contents 14:37
stickster mharris: noted! 14:38
mharris Some have preservatives, some don't, even within the same brand with different flavours. But that's probably getting only very slightly off topic. LOL 14:38
stickster crossbytes: Did you find an answer to your question in the guidelines? 14:38
heftig can i ask you again about your kleenex line of reasoning? 14:38
crossbytes no 14:38
stickster Sure heftig 14:38
stickster crossbytes: I'll come back to you right after this question 14:38
heftig so you said j&j did not properly defend its trademark? 14:39
stickster Well, it's arguable. At some point they probably had the ability to stop some generic usage in popular culture, and may have either missed the opportunity, or failed in their attempt. 14:40
stickster For instance, use in print or broadcast media 14:40
heftig right 14:40
stickster Or perhaps they could have mounted an ad campaign -- "Only genuine Kleenex will hold up to your sneeze and then vaccuum your floors!" 14:41
stickster "Accept no substitutes!" 14:41
stickster Something to that effect. 14:41
heftig okay, i think i get what you're saying 14:41
stickster crossbytes: OK, let's hear your question 14:42
* stickster asks herlo and nirik for possibly 3-5 extra minutes just in case 14:43
crossbytes how do we legally list the name for a fedora creation for scholl distribution 14:43
* nirik notes just a few minutes left, but we can go over a bit no problem. :) 14:43
stickster crossbytes: You could call it "Fedora Remix, Hill Valley College Edition" 14:43
stickster crossbytes: And there is a special logo that we've created for use in those situations 14:43
stickster 14:44
stickster The words "Fedora Remix" must appear together and cannot be separated by other terms 14:44
crossbytes OK THANK U FOR THE link also 14:44
stickster crossbytes: Also, 14:45
stickster Use the secondary mark for remixes if you don't want to seek trademark approval. Do not use the official Fedora logo, but instead use the secondary Fedora Remix logo 14:45
crossbytes Fedora Remix, CrossBytes School Edition would be ok 14:45
stickster Yes, absolutely. And you would use the Fedora Remix logo, subject to the usage guidelines on that page. 14:45
crossbytes perfect thank you.. 14:46
@herlo crossbytes: stickster and I have both done presentations about Fedora Remixes, here's my latest slides if you are interested in reading up on the notes: Presentations#Fedora_Applications 14:47
stickster Thanks herlo 14:47
@herlo :) 14:47
stickster If there are any other questions, you can also send them to the fedora-legal-list: 14:47
stickster 14:47
crossbytes Thank you both can always use as much help as possible.. 14:48
stickster I hang out there with Tom 'Spot' Callaway and actual lawyers 14:48
stickster Although we usually field most of the questions ourselves unless it's particularly hairy. 14:48
stickster All right, I think that's it for me unless there are other questions 14:48
stickster Thank you herlo and nirik for your guidance of this weekend's Fedora Classroom! 14:48
-!- nirik changed the topic of #fedora-classroom to: Fedora IRC Classroom - Next class at 22:00 UTC - See Classroom for class schedule today and more info. 14:48
heftig thanks for the class, stickster 14:49
@nirik thanks for the inforrmative talk stickster ! 14:49
stickster Thanks everyone for coming 14:49
stickster And I wish you all happy computing with Fedora! 14:49
stickster Freedom -=- Friends -=- Features -=- First 14:49

Generated by 2.7 by Marius Gedminas - find it at!