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patrick quinn wrote:
hello team fedora
me and my team are curentuly working on a reactos (http://www.reactos.org)
> based os called blackhat which is open source and 100% free.blackhats
> party piece is its ability to run not only win32 but linux applications
> nativily.blackhat plays host to the latest open source and gnu software
> and environments .it will ultimately use the gnome interface as the
> default gui and have xgl alike abilites.i was wondering if you would
> be willing to put your name to this project amd give you very minor
> help and in exchange you will have permenant ad space at the top of
> are webpage and other fedora promotions troughout the os (eg in the
> welcome center).we will not ask anything of significance from you
> just giving blackhat some of that unmistakeable fedora charm.i
> personally am a huge fan of your os and hence the reason we have come
> to you.we would really aprecieate a reply be it negitive or positive
seasons greetings
team blackhat

Hi there,

This is an interesting looking project.  It's been quite a number of
years since I checked up on the progress of the ReactOS project, but
nice to see it's still active.

IANAL, but one rather important thing which your project may not be aware of, is that under trademark law, one must be careful not only to avoid infringing directly upon a trademark, but also to avoid using what the law calls "confusingly similar" terms as well. As an example, if an entrepreneur tried to open a new restaurant chain with the name "Burger Queen" or "Sausage King", the law would probably find these terms to be "confusingly similar" to "Burger King" and the owner of the Burger King trademark would have to defend their trademark by sending a legal notice of trademark contention (or whatever the correct legal term is).

Trademark law is pretty much "defend it or lose it" and so trademark owners who are aware of mark violations, or usage of confusingly similar marks don't have much choice but to defend their marks or risk losing them.

Red Hat has put up their trademark guidelines document to provide guidance on appropriate use of Red Hat's trademarks, as well as providing some general trademark related information to help ensure that others do not intentionally or unintentionally violate Red Hat's trademarks or use confusingly similar terms.

I highly recommend reading the Red Hat Trademark guidelines, which can be found at: http://www.redhat.com/about/companyprofile/trademark

Here is a direct link to the PDF document:

Have a look at page 3, section C, which covers plays on words, and "confusingly similar terms" which may cause confusion in the marketplace. Here is an excerpt:

	C. “Plays On Words” And Other Actions That May Cause
	 Confusion Are Also Prohibited
	Some examples of prohibited uses include, but
	are not limited to, “Red Cap” Linux, “Sombrero Rojo”
	(“Red Hat” translated into Spanish) Linux, “Redd Hatte”
	Linux, “RH” Linux, and “Green Hat” Linux.

Since "Green Hat" is directly refered to in the Red Hat trademark guidelines as being one example of a confusingly similar mark which would be prohibited. I think it would be safe to also assume that "Black Hat", "blackhat" or more generically "$any_color $any_type_of_hat" would equally be considered to be prohibited.

My suggestion, would be to change the name and totally avoid any possible chance of potentially stepping on trademark related issues.

You could still keep a similar theme of "$color $something", just don't use "Red" or "Hat" or any other word that means "hat" or is a type of hat, and you're probably ok. In the past, there have been "Blue Sky Linux", "Green Frog Linux", "Yellowdog Linux", "Black Flag Linux", "Pink Tie Linux", and "White Box Linux" that I'm aware of, and probably a number of others as well. As far as I recall those names were all ok, although as I said above, IANAL. ;o)

Here are some ideas:

"Black React"
"Black Reaction"
"Black Force"
"Black Ham"

I've no idea if any of those suggestions would be considered confusingly similar either of course, so if you use one of them and get legal papers in your mailbox, don't blame me! ;o) If in doubt though, it is best to directly consult with an intellectual property attourney.

Anyhow, since I've seen these sort of trademark issues arise in the past, and sometimes people end up getting upset. I thought I would give a heads up before people print out any company letterheads with names on them which might be considered to be in conflict with Red Hat's marks.

Hope this helps.

P.S.  Don't hate the players...  hate the game...  ;o)

Mike A. Harris

Come and join us on the #fedora8 IRC help forum on irc.freenode.net

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