Texas-Ubuntu.org webmaster

Loye Young loye.young at iycc.net
Thu Feb 14 17:05:36 GMT 2008


As long as we are not being technical about it, I should not chime in
with some non-technical comments myself. (Even though I'm no longer a
lawyer, every once in a while, my legal education and subsequent law
practice so come in handy from time to time.):

We are constrained in our choices of trademark licensing by
Canonical's trademark policy governing the [*]buntu brand. See
http://www.ubuntu.com/aboutus/trademarkpolicy. Because Canonical owes
the trademark, it gets to dictate the terms pursuant to which the word
"Ubuntu" is used.  Fortunately, the policy is reasonably balanced --
permitting the community to use the brand while ensuring that the calf
doesn't get off the ranch. The policy establishes the standard logo as
the Platonic ideal but allows for variations provided the variations
are ultimately approved by Canonical. For that reason, the terms of
the trademark policy are probably in our longterm interest, too.

We'll need at some point to get Canonical approval for the logo, the
domain name, and the team name, but I don't expect that to be a big
problem. After all, the whole "LoCo" process requires the various
groups to behave essentially as we are. As far as timing goes, we have
some leeway at this time for us to get our ducks in a row. When we
apply for recognition as an "official" Ubuntu LoCo, Canonical will
have an opportunity to review the whole nine yards.

BTW -- While reading the trademark policy again this morning, I
noticed that it specifically speaks to color choices. I'm pretty sure
that while we have some latitude, the red, white, and blue idea I had
wouldn't fly. (Once again, I would say fewer stupid things if I myself
would RTFM.)

The "Circle of Friends" logo is not as cut-and-dried as the use of the
word "Ubuntu". Variations from the standard lie on a continuum:
--Variations that are slight are probably forbidden because the
standard should be used in that case.
--Variations that are somewhat different are possible but are subject
to Canonical's sole discretion. Canonical has signalled that it will
allow some variation for local usage, if the variant indicates
distinctiveness from Canonical but is consistent with use of the
overall Ubuntu brand. (Having our cake and eating it too is of course
standard procedure for programmers.)
--Variations that are clearly different from the standard but perhaps
suggestive of the standard are in a grey area. Such variations would
likely be permittted under trademark law as long as the clear
differences would not cause confusion to the public, but Canonical
would likely still be able to have at least some power to influence by
bootstrapping its approval powers over the "Ubuntu" mark.
--Logos that are so distinctive that they have little or nothing to do
with the standard mark are fair game. In that case, there is no
possibility of confusion, and Canonical probably doesn't care anyway.

My suggestion for licensing is that we adopt and adapt the Canonical
trademark policy, changing proper names where indicated to protect the
. . . . well . . . just because.  It would be wise to add a footer to
the website attributing anything ending in "buntu" to Canonical and
providing a link to our own trademark page that sets out our own
policy governing the brand name and the graphic logo.

So, to tie it all together, here's the footer lingo I suggest:

Both (a) the combination of any form or abbreviation of the word
"Texas" with any word ending in "buntu", in whatever order; and (b)
the Texas Ubuntu Badge graphical logo are trademarks of the official
Ubuntu Texas Team and the use thereof is governed by the Texas Ubuntu
Trademark policy, subject to the _a priori_ ownership  by Canonical
Ltd. of any word ending in "buntu" and to its express consent.

As was clearly and eloquently stated before in this thread, we mustn't
get technical.

Loye Young

Theological questions to ponder on St. Valentine's day -- Is Canonical
approval a "canonization"? If so, does the Vatican have a claim of
infringement against Canonical for infringement on the Holy See's sole
authority to canonize? In any event, are Canonically-approved persons
or groups guaranteed a place in heaven? Has heaven now become Free and
Open Source? What does that say about the doctrine of justification by
grace? Did God receive the blessings of the Open Source Initiative, or
is it the other way around? Are Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds, and
Mark Shuttleworth a sign of the existence of the trinitarian Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit:  three Persons but one and the same Substance?

Loye Young
Isaac & Young Computer Company
Laredo, Texas

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