[IAEP] Scenarios for licensing our trademarks

Sean DALY sdaly.be at gmail.com
Fri Jan 29 09:59:09 EST 2010

Any effective trademark license is 100% guaranteed to be more
restrictive than the GPL, because software and branding are apples and

Sony, or Nike, or Fedora for that matter, don't change their logo, or
colors or typeface with each new version of their software, for a very
simple reason: brands are symbols, and to be recognized as such by
anyone is a huge challenge.

I've said before [1] that we are breaking new ground, and it's not
easy. If we extend our trademarks use freely, we 1) run the risk of
losing them 2) will be unable to build awareness of the brand.

I'm open to suggestions for building the Sugar brand, but for now I'm
afraid I don't see a better way to succeed in doing it.


1. http://lists.sugarlabs.org/archive/marketing/2010-January/002621.html

On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 2:10 PM, Sascha Silbe
<sascha-ml-ui-sugar-iaep at silbe.org> wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 12:37:57PM +0100, Sascha Silbe wrote:
>> I feel that our trademark policy is getting much too strong, [...]
> I've had some time to think a bit more about it and would like to compare
> our trademark license with our software license.
> Basis for comparison: The FSF free software definition [1], the Sugar
> Trademark case studies wiki page [2]
> Software: "Being free to do these things means (among other things) that you
> do not have to ask or pay for permission to do so.", "In order for these
> freedoms to be real, they must be permanent and irrevocable as long as you
> do nothing wrong; if the developer of the software has the power to revoke
> the license, or retroactively change its terms, without your doing anything
> wrong to give cause, the software is not free."
> Trademark: "approval can't be automatic for several reasons I have outlined
> previously, but in particular because of periodicity, renewal, and
> revocation if conditions not respected"
> Software: "If you do publish your changes, you should not be required to
> notify anyone in particular, or in any particular way"
> Trademark: no matching case study, but even unmodified software is required
> to "apply for a license for our label program. We will need to verify that
> there actually is Sugar running. License should be for one year with updated
> rider from applicant for renewal."
> Software: "Whether a change constitutes an improvement is a subjective
> matter. If your modifications are limited, in substance, to changes that
> someone else considers an improvement, that is not freedom."
> Trademark: any change to SoaS needs to go through the "labelling program"
> While the trademark license doesn't prevent you from exercising your
> software freedoms (you "just" have to remove all uses of the trademark from
> the software) and there are good reasons to be slightly more restrictive
> about the use of specific names / name combinations I would like both
> licenses to be much more closely aligned.
> [1] http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/free-sw.html
> [2] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Trademark_case_studies
> CU Sascha
> --
> http://sascha.silbe.org/
> http://www.infra-silbe.de/
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