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Re: [gNewSense-users] GLPv2 - License trademark

From: Dave Crossland
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] GLPv2 - License trademark
Date: Sat, 10 May 2008 13:11:36 +0100

2008/5/9 Alexandre Oliva <address@hidden>:
> On May  9, 2008, "Dave Crossland" <address@hidden> wrote:
>> 2008/5/8 Alexandre Oliva <address@hidden>:
>>> It would be very hard to use trademark law to render Software
>>> non-Free.
>> A type design could be trademarked and then restricted in perpetuity,
>> so that making a free software font might not be possible after the
>> type design expires into the public domain (which varies a lot from
>> country to country)
> Hmm...  You mean it is possible to trademark a font, rather than
> individual characters or combinations thereof?  This is news to me,
> but I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it was possible indeed.

IANAL, and neither was the guy who suggested this idea to me, but its
a theoretical possibility, yes.

> Of course, if one adds a trademarked logo as one of the characters in
> a font, then users of that version of the font containing the logo
> could face trademark problems, and I guess one could argue that that
> particular version of the font is not Free Software, even if removing
> the logo would bring it back to freedom.


> Similarly, if one were to design a font such that a specific
> combination of characters matched exactly a trademarked logo, then
> that specific use of the font might be forbidden, but I don't think
> this would make the font non-Free.

That would be logical, although it seems reasonable one would be
liable for contributory trademark infringement by making such a font.

> And then, if you name the font using a trademark held by another party
> in the font business, you might end up having to rename it, but this
> wouldn't render the font non-Free.

Yes that's obviously no problem :-)

> So, yes, there are corner cases in which trademarks can render
> Software non-Free, but I do think they're rare and uncommon.

Yes, this is a very very rare and totally theoretical concept; I'm
just mentioning it :-)

> in most cases trademarks are not a problem as far as software freedom is
> concerned.

I agree :)


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