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From "Lawrence Rosen" <lro...@rosenlaw.com>
Subject Who owns the project name?
Date Tue, 10 Dec 2013 20:07:31 GMT
Attached is Pamela Chestek's article on trademarks for FOSS projects, copied
with her permission. Please enjoy it. 


By the way, Pamela will be speaking at tomorrow's PLI continuing education
program, Open Source and Free Software 2013, in San Francisco and on the
web, for those of you who can attend. 








In the United States, ownership of trade marks can be bedevilling. A trade
mark registration is not a grant of rights, only recognition of
already-existing rights. A trade mark is owned by the first to use it and
may only be registered by the owner. 


However, there is no consistent rule or standard that courts apply when
deciding disputes over ownership. Complicating matters further, U.S. trade
mark law eschews the concept of joint ownership, considering it inconsistent
with a trademark's role as a sole source identifier or assurer of quality.
Thus, courts are in the position of having to identify a single owner of a
trademark using poorly defined law. 


This article will review the various ways that courts have decided who owns
a trade mark when there are two claimants. It will also provide guidance to
free and open source software projects about how to best manage their
project names so that a project has a clear claim of ownership and its
project name is fully enforceable as a trade mark.


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