[conspire] Generic Linux?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Jun 14 12:57:27 PDT 2010

Quoting Tony Godshall (tony at of.net):

> yes, and more at...
> http://www.linuxmark.org/faq.php
> http://www.linuxmark.org/attribution.php

Be aware that trademark owners' public statements will _always_
greatly overstate the rights of trademark owners and the obligations of
third-party users, and that certainly includes Linux Mark Institute.

(Why?  Because their object isn't to teach you law, but rather to
protect their property.)

1.  Attribution is not a legal requirement.  As part of that, the use
    of the (R) (or R in circle) symbol is never required, but is
    sometimes _forbidden_ by law, i.e., it maybe used only by owners
    who've paid the $330/decade registration fee to USPTO.
2.  Permission is not a legal requirement, not even for use in commerce.
3.  Use without commerce (as long as it doesn't commit the tort of 
    trademark disparagement) is automatically lawful.
4.  The only uses in commerce that commit the tort of trademark
    infringement are uses tending to confuse the trademark owner's 
    customers into thinking the trademark owner produced or endorsed the
    competing goods or services.  Furthermore, this obligation to avoid
    confusion applies only within the same trade or industry.

In short, the monopoly granted by trademark is a very limited one over 
_brand impression_ created by distinctive names and symbols, e.g.,
Nike's right to insist that its 'swoosh' never be used in ways likely to 
confuse its customers into thinking that Shenzen Shoe Company's shoes
are Nike's.  But this doesn't mean Shenzen needs to ask Nike's
permission to put the swoosh on its shoes and promotional material:  It
could, for example, write below that 'Shenzen Shoe Company's products
are not produced or endorsed by Nike', and would be covered.

And the Nike Bar and Grill doesn't have to worry about Nike's trademarks
at all, on account of being in a different trade or industry.

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