Open Sourcing Trademarks?

Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at January 17, 2006 09:09 PM

One of my favorite Rethink(IP) readers I've had the pleasure to trade emails and Skype chats with is Flock design guru Chris Messina. Chris reminds me a lot of Kevin Heller. Chris is open source rethinker extrordinaire.

Chris is a fellow blogger (blog: Factory City) and likes to push IP buttons thereon. For instance: EFF the RIAA and Intellectual Property Perpetuates the Intellectual Police State. With posts like that, you can see why he is a "must read" in my aggregator.

It was his recent post entitled The Case for Community Marks that caught my eye earlier. In that post, Chris makes the point that there is a:

need for a mark that is owned, operated and enforced by a community that isn't driven by purely economic interest. Instead, the motivation derives from the desire to uniformly represent their work product as the output of a specific community. Period.

Hmm...sounds familiar.

Section 4 of the Trademark Act (15 U.S.C. ยง1054), provides for the registration of "certification marks" and "collective marks:"

The term 'certification mark' means any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof--

1. used by a person other than its owner, or

2. which its owner has a bona fide intention to permit a person other than the owner to use in commerce and files an application to register on the principal register established by this Act, to certify regional or other origin, material, mode of manufacture, quality, accuracy, or other characteristics of such person's goods or services or that the work or labor on the goods or services was performed by members of a union or other organization.

The term 'collective mark' means a trademark or service mark--

1. used by the members of a cooperative, an association, or other collective group or organization, or

2. which such cooperative, association, or other collective group or organization has a bona fide intention to use in commerce and applies to register on the principal register established by this Act, and includes marks indicating membership in a union, an association or other organization.

Maybe a hybrid of the two????

The comments are open....

Comments (2) | TrackBacks (4) trackback

Related Articles:
Rethinking Design and Fab(rication) Law
Rethinking Trademark Law


You can ping this entry by using .

iron mountain bed bath

Trackbacked from iron mountain bed bath on iron mountain bed bath.

anarchy belt buckles

Trackbacked from anarchy belt buckles on anarchy belt buckles.

pictionary clues

Trackbacked from pictionary clues on pictionary clues.

itrip help

Trackbacked from itrip help on itrip help.


Josh Says:

January 17, 2006 10:05 PM

Interesting. It seems like you could go either way with it -- Organize a non-profit to hold a certification mark or have a collective membership mark certifying that the members themselves are open source providers.

It seems like a hybrid would be hard to control. Who says who gets to use the mark? Is it an "on your honor system"? Where would the quality control be? It might be self-diluting. Interesting, though.

Kevin Heller Says:

January 18, 2006 12:27 AM

I emailed a friend at the PTO to see if the CM is used for COllective Mark the same way SM and TM are used.

Leave a comment

Your Name
Your E-mail
Your Website URL
Remember personal info?