[OSM-talk] Draft Trademark Policy

John F. Eldredge john at jfeldredge.com
Mon Sep 18 17:59:04 UTC 2017

On 9/18/2017 11:01 AM, Simon Poole wrote:
> Am 18.09.2017 um 11:47 schrieb Stephan Knauss:
>> Hello Simon,
>> On 18.09.2017 10:17, Simon Poole wrote:
>>> Depending on the territory you can have rights in marks that you have
>>> not registered and it is probably completely undisputed that OSM is
>>> associated as strongly as OpenStreetMap with the project.
>> My main interest is whether we actually have OSM as a mark.
>> I assume you refer to this:
>> https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/markeng/__4.html
> I wasn't actually specifically referenceing Germany, as said it really
> depends on which territory you are looking at.
>> This requires a majority of the "users" associating OSM with the
>> OpenStreetMap Foundation, or maybe with the product the OSMF has which
>> is our database.
>> I assume without a registered trademark it would be up to the OSMF to
>> actually prove that they created the OSM mark by using it, right?
> In general all trademarks require that you actually use them to at least
> maintain your rights,
>> So wouldn't it be wise to actually register OSM to prevent any doubts
>> on having that mark? Costs don't seem that high. Googling mentions 300
>> EUR for a registration.
>> Are we confident, the majority associates OSM with OpenStreetMap?
>> There was the OSMAPS@ mark a while ago. It belonged to Ordnance Survey
>> Maps, which can also be abbreviated as OSM.
>> Can we even legally use OSM with Ordnance Survey having OSMM?
>> https://euipo.europa.eu/eSearch/#details/trademarks/002782688
>> Wouldn't they be legally required to protect their mark by asking us
>> to stop using OSM?
>> Where is the difference between us weakening the OSMM mark and FOSM
>> weakening the OSM mark?
> Obviously I can't comment or even speculate on OS views on their marks,
> and it is just as pointless speculating what we we would do if we were
> not constrained by financial and manpower resources (as for example the
> WMF for all practical purposes is not). As of now we are just covering
> the most important things,
> Simon

Under US law, at least, a trademark has to be defended (i.e., 
periodically searching for people making infringing use of the 
trademark, and sending them cease-and-desist letters), or else risk 
having a court later decide that the trademark has been abandoned and is 
now in the public domain, free for anyone to use without requiring 
permission.  This has happened over the years to a number of 
trademarks.  Once a trademark has been defended for a certain number of 
years (I am not certain how long), it gets further legal protection and 
you don't have to defend it quite so vigorously. Back about 15 years 
ago, I worked for a small company that was having to defend its 
trademark, so I have a layman's understanding of the issue.

John F. Eldredge -- john at jfeldredge.com
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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