Open source hardware trademark application rejected

open source hardware trademark

On April 19th the United States Patent and Trademark Office finally rejected an application for the trademark open source hardware. The grounds for the rejection were that the term was "merely descriptive."

Trademarks are intended to identify a specific source of goods or services, protecting that source from confusion in the minds of consumers with other sources. Naturally then, if you try to obtain a trademark which is just a description of a type of product or service, it is proper that you should be refused; it would not be distinctive and it would distort the market by allowing one source to control the generic term. If I market a car for a hamster, I should not be able to get a trademark for the name hamster car, as that would improperly restrain competitors from bringing their own hamster cars to market. So, should we be pleased that the application was rejected?

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Does your code need a license?

licensing intellectual property

Copyright, copyleft, or copy none?

The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is concerned that some open source software developers are not choosing a license for their work, so they want to educate software developers and anyone else working on open source projects that simply not choosing a license is not enough. » Read more

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The EFF covers Google's open patent non-assertion pledge

patents for open innovation

The flood of software patents has created an environment where companies are afraid that innovation leads to being hit by patent lawsuits. Every dollar spent fighting patent trolls and or waging patent wars is a dollar not spent researching, developing, and creating jobs. The situation is so bad that, in 2011, Apple and Google spent more on patent litigation and buying patents than they did on research. So it’s no surprise that some companies are looking for new ways to navigate the patent system while promoting openness and innovation.

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Why the public domain matters

digital content

[The public domain] is the basis of our self-understanding as expressed by our shared knowledge and culture. It is the raw material from which new knowledge is derived and new cultural works are created. [..] Having a healthy and thriving Public Domain is essential to the social and economic well-being of our societies."

—from The Public Domain Manifesto

The Public Domain Review is a proponent of this message and actively supports other institutions in opening up their digital works to the public domain. Today, the public domain is in danger of being locked up by private companies and institutions who want to try to resell access and reproduction rights to the copies that they make.

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Open, collaborative effort to improve US patents

make things better

Late last year, I wrote about the EFF’s project to leverage the Patent Office’s new Preissuance Submissions procedure to promote open 3D printing technology. Here we are, several months later, and the fight for open 3D printing continues. Now, the EFF has partnered with Ask Patents to facilitate crowdsourcing of prior art searches for various 3D printing-related patent applications.

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Key House committee looks at abusive patent litigation

patent reform

In the latest evidence of the growing recognition that our patent system needs reform, last week the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet held an informative and well-attended hearing on "Abusive Patent Litigation".

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte set the tone for the hearing: » Read more

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The Python trademark dispute

trademarks

UPDATE: In a March 22 press release, the PSF announced that the parties have reached an amicable resolution. According to the PSF, "Veber has withdrawn its trademark filing and has agreed to support the [PSF's] use of the term". Veber will rebrand its Python cloud server and backup services. For its part, Veber stated that its agreement with the PSF will "remove potential confusion between the Python software language and [Veber's] cloud services business".

The PSF's successful and efficient efforts to mobilize the Python community in its support undoubtedly had a significant effect on convincing Veber to settle the matter quickly.  


By now, active observers of the open source world will have heard of the trademark dispute between the Python Software Foundation (PSF) and Veber, a small hosting company in the UK. As reported by the PSF, Veber recently decided it wished to use "Python" in certain branding of its products and services. Veber filed an EU community trademark application, claiming the exclusive right to use the "Python" mark for software, servers, and web services throughout the EU. The PSF (which obtained a registered trademark for "Python" in the US in 2004) is opposing Veber's trademark application.

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Defensive patent publications establish the existence of prior art in any field

patent struggle

It bothers many of us everytime we hear about yet another non-obvious, overreaching, and abusive patent—particularly a software patent that is getting in the way of innovation and creativity. Additionally, there is an overwhelming sense of frustration when a regular citizen can't do much to change the current, sad state of affairs. » Read more

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Younger developers reject licensing, risk chance for reform

copyright in the dark

Modern copyright law grants copyright automatically to any creative work, including simple things like blog posts – and small pieces of code on github. This default copyright creates an assumption that for someone to do anything further with someone else's creative work requires permission from the author—what Lawrence Lessig calls "the permission culture." The open license ecosystem often takes this permission culture for granted, rather than fighting back—and that may be contributing to the proliferation of unlicensed code.

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Which open source software license should I use?

MPL GPL APACHE

I’ve recently been involved in several discussions that are variations on, "Which open source or free software license should I choose for my project?" Here is my way of looking at the large and growing collection of licenses in the wild. First, let's make sure we all understand that I Am Not A Lawyer. This is not legal advice. Depending upon your needs and your comfort with risk around your software, you'll want to confirm your legal choices with counsel in your jurisdiction.

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