trademark

Open source under the lens of an intellectual property lawyer

open source and intellectual property
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Have you ever wondered what, from a business perspective, the world of sharing, free, and open source looks like to a lawyer?

Challenging! Chaotic? Creative.

Pam Chestek is an intellectual property lawyer. She runs Chestek Legal, a practice that focuses on giving practical, legal advice on branding, marketing, and protecting and sharing content. In this interview she shares with me what caused her to challenge traditional wisdom back in law school, the kind of chaos involved in analyzing free and open source software through the lens of the law, and how creativity is at the heart of it all.  » Read more

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Lessons from Koha in open source project ownership

brand community balance

While compiling OSS Watch's list of Open Source Options for Education, I discovered Koha, an open source Integrated Library System (ILS). I discovered, with some confusion, that there seemed to be several ILS systems called Koha. Investigation into the reason for this uncovered a story which provides valuable lessons for open source project ownership, including branding, trademarks, and conflict resolution.

» Read more

5 Comments

What's not wrong with PIPA and SOPA

What's not wrong with PIPA and SOPA

Here's one list purporting to be the "10 Major Companies Which Are Supporting SOPA/PIPA" – Philip Morris, Rolex, Dolce & Gabbana, Adidas, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Ford Motor Company, Sony, Wal-Mart, World Wrestling Entertainment, Electronic Art – Notice something about them?<--break-> » Read more

21 Comments

Makers: Free your hardware with OHANDA

The Open Source Hardware and Design Aliance (OHANDA) aims to do for hardware what the Creative Commons does for intellectual property and the GPL does for software: open it up. By applying open source principles to trademarks, OHANDA hopes to free devices from some restrictions imposed by patent law and foster "sustainable sharing of open hardware and design." » Read more

2 Comments

The open-by-rule governance benchmark

What does authentic open source community governance look like? An open source community will involve many people gathering for their own independent reasons around a free software commons with source code licensed under an OSI-approved open source license. But there's more to software freedom than just the license. » Read more

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TEDx branding: A legal point of view

My friend and former colleague Chris Grams recently wrote a great article on the topic of extending the TED brand by allowing anyone to organize their own TED conference under “TEDx” branding. Chris posits that trademark law may be standing in the way of successful branding in today's business environment, where brands and brand affinity are built through community engagement rather than through top-down, owner-driven brand strategy.

I couldn't agree more. » Read more

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Can programming language names be trademarks?

Can–or should–a programming language name be a trademark? The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the administrative board within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that adjudicates whether trademarks can be registered, recently decided that the word “Lua” was not a generic name for a programming language, but rather that the term referred to a particular proprietary language. Is it right though, that someone is allowed to exercise proprietary rights over a programming language name? » Read more

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Trademarks – the good, the bad and the ugly

By Harvey Anderson

Trademarks used for open source projects–like for the Mozilla Firefox browser–will often be misused. It can take the form of a website selling open source software that is normally distributed for free, using the trademark to promote other products and services, or using modified versions of the trademark. The problem is that these activities are deceptive, harm users, cause consumer confusion, and jeopardize the identity and meaning of the brand–not to mention being illegal. » Read more

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