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Re: TradeMarked Name --redhat-config-

On Sun, Nov 09, 2003 at 02:08:41PM +0000, Lance Davis wrote:
> On Sun, 9 Nov 2003, Mike A. Harris wrote:
> > On Sun, 9 Nov 2003, Behdad Esfahbod wrote:
> > 
> > >So isn't Red Hat already violating that by their restrictions on
> > >using their trademark and releasing software with the trademark
> > >in it as GPL?
> > 
> > No.  The GPL does not have any clause concerning trademarks.
> 'any more restrictive basis' would IMHO and IANAL include the use of 
> trademarks.

Copyright law is independent of trademark law. The GPL is a distribution
licence dependent on copyright law.

It's one thing to take all GPL packages on RedHat Linux and sell it as
Super Linux for $2000, it's another to name a product Best RedHat, whether
based on RedHat software or some other software.

Linux is also a registered trademark, not to be used at free. Linus, the
trademark owner, allows a lot of uses by 3rd parties, but reserves for
himself the right to prosecute malicious uses, or just damaging uses.

You can take all the Linux kernel source, rename it to Optimux or something,
and sell it if following the GPL.

But you can't take a BSD kernel and sell it as Linux.

The same is, I suppose, for RedHat, but in your case you're not selling
a product but creating a package. It, in itself is just a product, but it
isn't a damaging to RedHat's trademark as a new software distribution.

And it would be damaging, not because RedHat feels like your damaging it, but
because trademark law states that it must be actively prosecuted, or it may
be lost, contrary to copyright.

I'll give you two advices:

1. If you really want to use that name for your software, contact Red Hat's
legal department as Mike Harris has suggested.

2. Change the name. redhat-config-* is a recent name, used by Red Hat to name
the packages it made for configuration of services distributed within its
RedHat Linux product. widget-config is as good as name as any.

Luciano Rocha


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