[OSM-legal-talk] Trademark applications

MJ Ray mjr at phonecoop.coop
Tue Jan 20 19:08:55 GMT 2009

SteveC <steve at asklater.com> wrote: [...]
> I can make absolutely clear I handed off all ownership of the domains  
> and trademarks to the foundation. [...] I've instructed, last month in fact,  
> the registration firm I used to deal now only with them.

So, at the current time, the transfer is instructed, but has not yet
happened and the founder currently still has ownership of the marks?
I think Steve and Peter seem to agree on that basic fact.

> Peter of course knows all of this because he's been repeatedly  
> bombarding board and team members with threatening emails. It's  
> unfortunate that his core, often valid, concerns and objections are so  
> often overtaken by personal attacks and bridge burning exercises.

I've not noticed serious personal attacks from Peter and it seems that
"bombarding" is disputed, but I've not read all the emails.

Please don't take it personally.  If the trademarks are not freely
licensed, then it leaves all openstreetmap commercial users open to
criminal prosecution for wilful infringement of the mark, as I
understand it (consequence of Article 61 of TRIPS 1994, so it affects
every WTO country).  Because it's a crime, the trademark holder
doesn't seem to need to do anything, so being fearful of trademark
prosecutious doesn't mean that someone is fearful of the holder. If
the holder not contactable in good time or whatever else, the state
investigation can grind on.  Don't take it personally.  You might be a
fine guy, but this seems like a sharp-edged can of worms that other
people can use to mess up commercial users of OSM without your say-so.

Also, the penalties in the EU seem ludicrously severe: unlimited fines
and 10 years prison, says the UK legislation (Copyright Etc and Trade
Marks (Offences) Act).  That might be why some people are *very* keen
to see the trademark in the hands of the foundation and licensed to
the general public.  Otherwise, they may not be able to call
openstreetmaps openstreetmap, as I understand it. That would be a shame.

Appealing for patience is all well and good, but it sounds like if
Peter hadn't acted when OSMF and the trademark agent had not acted in
time, it might have become criminal to call some things openstreetmap

The trademark registration clock started by the registration put a
time limit on the possibility for patience.  That's not Peter's fault
because he didn't register the trademark.  Please license it suitably
within a month.

If I've got any of the above wrong, I would really welcome justified
correction.  The criminalisation of commercial wilful trademark
infringement has caused several projects some stress.

Thanks and best wishes,
MJ Ray (slef)
Webmaster for hire, statistician and online shop builder for a small
worker cooperative http://www.ttllp.co.uk/ http://mjr.towers.org.uk/
(Notice http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html) tel:+44-844-4437-237

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