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41 votes

Is the term 'open source' a trademark?

International trademarks can be searched online in the WIPO Global Brand Database. “open source” is trademarked in some areas, none relevant for software OSI holds a US trademark for “Open Source ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39.1k
29 votes

Is the term 'open source' a trademark?

The OSI failed to secure a trademark on "open source" in 1999, and the term remains not trademarked. You may use "open source" to mean virtually anything you want, without legal ramifications, but to ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.3k
23 votes
Accepted

Why do some, but not all, 100% Free Software distros rebrand Firefox?

Mozilla requires that the product must be built unmodified or the changes made to the distribution be approved by them. Debian considered parts of Firefox (the trademarked logo, and non-free artwork) ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
11 votes

Marketing GPL 3 software

Can I charge the customer for software? This includes selling the software as well as charging for technical support? Yes, you can sell software that is licensed under the GPL v3. Section 4 addresses ...
Thomas Owens's user avatar
  • 1,682
11 votes

Who owns the rights to a logo contributed to an open-source project?

Assuming you've submitted the logo as a typical inbound=outbound contribution, you still own the copyright on the logo, but you may not forbid anyone else from from using the logo on copyright grounds,...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.3k
8 votes
Accepted

Why Linus Torvalds and The Linux Foundation should not sue distributions for trademark infringment?

Considering that Canonical has a Silver Membership in the Linux Foundation, I think it's safe to assume the Foundation is aware of its use of the mark in Ubuntu marketing and has either granted tacit ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.3k
8 votes
Accepted

Maintaining a parallel fork of a project that contains the original authors' company name

From a legal point of view, the GPL license allows you to rename everything in sight, except for mentions in the copyright lines. In practice, a complete renaming of all files and classes is rarely to ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

What is an Open Source license that prevents using the name of the software, and requires user-facing attribution if adopted?

You're talking about two separate issues: controlling the name of a project, and requiring user-visible attribution. To summarize the below points: of course you can register a trademark for your ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39.1k
7 votes
Accepted

How do open source licences affect the incorporation of copyright / trademark logos names in a project?

There are open source licenses, which explicitly deal with trademarks by excluding them from the scope. You can find an overview of the licenses here. The specific wording in the licenses differ, and ...
Martin_in_AUT's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

How can I protect the rights on character names or imagery in an open source game?

The only way I know to protect further character names or imagery in an open source game (or for any open source project) would be to use trademarks e.g. if you explicitly mention that the names and ...
Philippe Ombredanne's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

What does trademark use limitation mean in open-source licenses?

Does it prevent the trademark, such as the name and logo of the project from being used or modified The limitation does not prevent this - but this is because it is the default in law for any names, ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
6 votes

Can I use a logo (Image) from a GitHub repository with an MIT License?

First, verify that the image is indeed MIT-licensed. The project's README (or other documentation) may specify different licenses for code versus other media assets. If the image is indeed MIT-...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.3k
6 votes

Maintaining a parallel fork of a project that contains the original authors' company name

In copyright terms, you must obey the GPL - leave intact all copyright notices, and provide a copy of the source etc to anyone you distribute the binaries to. If you do that, you can remove all ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
4 votes

Maintaining a parallel fork of a project that contains the original authors' company name

This is going to depend on how much effort you want to do. But a solution I have used in the past is to include "their" classes and then overload where I needed to. GenericSimulator extends ...
coteyr's user avatar
  • 236
4 votes

How do open source licences affect the incorporation of copyright / trademark logos names in a project?

Copyright and trademarks are two different things. A company name might be under trademark protection, even if it is a common noun, like "Oracle". The name "Oracle" is not ...
Michael Karcher's user avatar
4 votes

Company logo in an MIT licensed project

I'm not a lawyer, and it might be best to consult with your company's legal department (if they have one) about this before releasing the project. If your company's logo is a registered trademark, I ...
airfishey's user avatar
  • 1,924
4 votes

Is there a license that requires derivative works to be published using my project's name?

I want to license them in a way that prevents others from publishing derivative works under completely different names in order to make sure that they stay visibly connected to my original work. This ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.3k
4 votes

Can I use a company's name in my open-source project?

Using a trademark to refer to that brand itself is generally fine. Using a trademark as part of your name is not. Your project shouldn't mislead users in thinking that your plugin would belong to or ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39.1k
4 votes
Accepted

Can I force to use a different name when redistributing GPL software?

By itself the GPL does not include such restrictions, but it neither includes any permission to use trademarked names. Strictly speaking you do not have to do anything. However, the GPLv3 does have ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39.1k
3 votes
Accepted

Open Source License that requires commercial users to contribute

No, there are no open source licenses that require contribution before you can use the project. One of the most fundamental principles of open source software is that users of an open source project ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

How do I refer to the AOSP specifically, instead of compatible versions of Android, without breaking trademark law?

Trademarks are a complicated matter and eventually something quite important in the FOSS world as branding is essential to some projects whether they are commercially backed or not. For instance, the ...
Philippe Ombredanne's user avatar
3 votes

Using company logos in open source projects?

Often, these things are usually trademarked, if not copyrighted as well. However, a lot of the larger, more major companies provide to people various guidelines that allow people to use their ...
Zizouz212's user avatar
  • 6,479
3 votes

Does being open sourced mean others can use my logo?

You most likely want to use a rather permissive licence for your logo, and handle the rest through trademark law. If things go well, your logo is going to be used in various places to refer to your ...
Simon Richter's user avatar
3 votes

Does being open sourced mean others can use my logo?

Yes and no: In most cases yes, your logo is covered under that permissive license, but also no, you still (may) retain trademark rights for use of that logo in conjunction with your software product. ...
Shane Curcuru's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Could reusing a project name as part of my own get me into trouble?

Trademarks exist to avoid confusion in the public about who or what a particular name refers to. Trademark right are not given automatically, but trademarks have to be explicitly claimed and actively ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic image derivative as organization logo

I believe it would be a really bad idea. You want to have complete (legal) control over the image of your organization, not have anybody being able to use it legally (share alike or weaker rights) or ...
vonbrand's user avatar
  • 5,277
2 votes

Making trademarks in an open source project on Github with Apache 2.0 License

There is no consistent practice around this. A few projects put a TRADEMARK.md file in their main repositories. More put a few lines in their README files. The most common practice, though, is to ...
Josh Berkus's user avatar
1 vote

distributing your own linux flavour (or modified distro) - copyright, trademark issues

This is a bit complicated because you want to do something that a lot of people usually work on. Let's define what "distribution" is. A GNU / Linux distribution is a specific set of tools ...
Maniues's user avatar
  • 900
1 vote

Can an apache-licensed project's trademark be used in a binary of the official source?

I think the only realistic answer to your question is some combination of: no-one knows which jurisdiction(s) do you care about? Trademark law is not nearly as homogeneous globally as copyright law ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar

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