trademarked logos and GPL

Ravicher, Daniel B. DRavicher at
Thu Jan 25 01:49:08 UTC 2001

Perhaps this discussion group will be best served by everyone contributing
their reasoned and educated thoughts.  Creating negative incentives to
participate spells doom for the discussion and thwarts the benefit we could
all receive from an open marketplace of ideas where we all feel comfortable
to express our opinions and let them stand or fall on their own merit.  On
that note, here's my 2 cents.

Whether a statement is legal advice or not, isn't a bright line yes or no.
It's a spectrum, from "Killing people is a bad legal maneuver" to "Write
this in your complaint which you should file in such and such court on such
and such date."  It is this distinction which I believe is at the root of
miscommunication and skepticism between lawyers and non-lawyers.
Non-lawyers want clear cut answers and believe they exist.  Lawyers know
clear cut answers don't exist; there are always arguments on both sides.
Thus, the expectations of the non-lawyers are often unfulfilled.  To make my
point, I'll point out the irony that the statement "Non-lawyers should not
give legal advice" is itself legal advice.  

The following is arguably legal advice, but all of this information is
available on the UPSTO web site.  And if you can't believe the United States
government, who can you believe???  OPENSOURCE may not be lost as a TM to
the opensource community.  On the federal register the term OPENSOURCE is
registered for the following goods and services only: (a) financial
services, namely, on-line mortgage brokerage services; on-line mortgage
aggregation services; lending services.  There were two other applications
for OPENSOURCE, but both have been abandoned.  Yes, the mark may be generic
or descriptive without secondary meaning, but I'm not sure about that.  I
mean, I'm only a patent lawyer; give me a break.

Dan Ravicher
1633 Broadway, 47th Fl.
NY, NY 10019
p. 212.315.8032
f. 212.586.7878
e. dravicher at

-----Original Message-----
From: Lawrence E. Rosen [mailto:lrosen at]
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2001 6:25 PM
To: Rodent of Unusual Size
Cc: bart at; license-discuss at; dan at
Subject: RE: trademarked logos and GPL

Dear Rodent,

I'm sorry that my comments rubbed you the wrong way.  My concern was that
the particular question I was commenting on dealt not specifically with
licenses but with trademarks, a topic about which I have already discovered
much naivete on the part of the open source community.  For example, it was
because of mistakes made early in the game that the open source community
lost all opportunity to obtain a trademark on "open source."  I wanted to
make sure that this particular questioner did not get equally bad advice
about how to protect his trademark.  And quite frankly, the few responses
I've already seen indicate that the advice he's getting is not helpful.

The license-discuss list is intended to be a forum for the discussion of
licenses.  Certainly there will not be any attempt by me to censor the
emails or to prevent anyone who wishes to to comment fully on any proposed
open source license.  But please be careful.  Those of you who are lawyers
should refrain from giving specific legal advice to non-clients over the
Internet, and those of you who are non-lawyers should refrain from advising
people specifically about their legal rights.  (Earlier this afternoon I was
privately reminded -- by someone with perhaps an excess of protectionist
tendencies -- of the California statute that provides that "Any person . . .
practicing law who is not an active member of the State Bar is guilty of a

My email was intended as a gentle reminder of what should be the
self-imposed limitations of this forum.  Please don't take it as more than
that.  Say what you wish, but please try to avoid answering specific
questions that could affect a person's (or company's) rights to their
trademarks or other intellectual property.

/Larry Rosen

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rodent of Unusual Size [mailto:Ken.Coar at Golux.Com]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2001 1:35 PM
> To: Lawrence E. Rosen
> Cc: bart at; license-discuss at; dan at
> Subject: Re: trademarked logos and GPL
> "Lawrence E. Rosen" wrote:
> >
> > I want to discourage license-discuss participants from
> answering questions
> > like this one.
> 	:
> > But non-lawyers have to avoid giving legal advice
> Sorry, but this really rubs me the wrong way.  In a word, BS.
> People should be cautious of following legal advice from
> others not skilled/conversant with the law, but DON'T try
> to put a gag instruction on non-lawyers.  I'm not the least
> bit interested in furthering the legal closed-shop
> environment, and I personally would encourage the opposite --
> anyone with an opinion should feel free to express it,
> with the usual 'IANAL' caveat.
> --
> #ken    P-)}
> Ken Coar                    <http://Golux.Com/coar/>
> Apache Software Foundation  <>
> "Apache Server for Dummies" <http://Apache-Server.Com/>
> "Apache Server Unleashed"   <http://ApacheUnleashed.Com/>

This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

To reply to our email administrator directly, send an email to postmaster at

More information about the License-discuss mailing list