[Fwd: FW: For Approval: Generic Attribution Provision]

Larry M. Augustin lma at lmaugustin.com
Wed Dec 13 07:20:37 UTC 2006

I don't believe you need a license to the trademark Foo to say a piece of
software is "Foo-based", "derived from Foo", or "based on Foo".  That's
simply an expression of fact describing the origin of the code in the
derivative work.  I believe you could require attribution of that form
without granting a license to the trademark.

Trademark usage around Open Source is a whole other area that needs some


Larry M. Augustin

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Lawrence Rosen [mailto:lrosen at rosenlaw.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2006 10:24 PM
> To: license-discuss at opensource.org
> Subject: RE: [Fwd: FW: For Approval: Generic Attribution Provision]
> > On Mon, 11 Dec 2006, Dalibor Topic wrote:
> > > I'd say that badgerware that requires displaying and propagating
> > > trademarked logos, is fundamentally contrary to the idea of
> > > open source, since it makes it very hard to actually fork the
> > > code without running foul of trademark laws.
> Brian Behlendorf responded:
> > No, not really.  If I tell you that you must include this logo in this
> way
> > in the UI of your redistributed work, then I am implicitly but
> inarguably
> > giving you a license to trademark rights I might have in that logo and
> > name, limited to usage as defined by that license.
> Brian, if you give me a license to trademark rights you have in your logo
> and name, and thereby allow or require me to apply that logo or name to my
> derivative works over whose quality you have no control, you are likely to
> lose your trademark.
> Dalibor Topic's fear (from the vantage point of the licensee who forks) is
> not realistic because forking is always allowed for open source software
> regardless of the trademarks it bears, but the licensor should fear that
> his
> trademark will become useless if he requires it to be displayed on those
> forks.
> The stronger the GAP requirements to include licensor's logo and trademark
> in prominent places on uncontrolled goods, the more likely the loss of the
> trademark. Given that reality of trademark law, I'm curious why so many
> companies seem to want such strong attribution in UIs of other companies'
> modified software?
> /Larry

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