trademarked logos and GPL

Lawrence E. Rosen lrosen at
Tue Jan 23 01:23:00 UTC 2001

I want to discourage license-discuss participants from answering questions
like this one.  Not that its a bad question, or one that would be
uninteresting for more than the questioner to hear answered.  But
non-lawyers have to avoid giving legal advice -- and the questioner would be
foolish to accept legal advice from non-lawyers about a technically
complicated subject such as trademark law.

Even lawyers like me have to be very careful.  We are not supposed to give
generic legal advice to non-clients over the Internet.  That's why I
sometimes avoid answering questions on this discussion list, simply because
I don't want to be seen as advising someone how to act when I don't know
them and don't represent them.

I encourage the questioner to direct his question, in private, to an
attorney.  If you don't know of a good attorney, call me or call other
people you know and ask for recommendations.

/Larry Rosen
Attorney and Executive Director, OSI
lrosen at

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bart Decrem [mailto:bart at]
> Sent: Monday, January 22, 2001 5:17 PM
> To: license-discuss at
> Cc: dan at
> Subject: trademarked logos and GPL
> Hi everyone,
> I have a feeling that the question I'm about to ask has been
> asked & answered a few
> times already, so I do apologize for that.
> We at Eazel are trying to figure out what we need to do so we can
> distribute our
> corporate logo along with our Nautilus software, which is GPL'd,
> without losing our
> ability to control the use of our trademark.
> It looks like Red Hat distributes their logo in a separate RPM,
> which is released under
> very restrictive licensing terms, and that there are a few GPL'd
> applications (most
> prominently Red Hat Update Agent) that have a dependency on that.
> So we're thinking of doing exactly the same thing.  We use the
> Eazel logo as a
> 'throbber' (think: the throbbing N in your Netscape browser).
> The installer for our
> Nautilus software would always install that logo.  But if someone
> objects to the
> licensing terms of the logo, they could uninstall our logo RPM,
> in which case they
> would see a generic throbber.  The CVS version of our source code
> would only include
> the generic throbber.
> Is this the best way to proceed?
> Bart

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