[VisCom] Logo/branding effort

Michael P. Gerlek mpg at lizardtech.com
Fri Sep 29 05:26:04 EDT 2006

I was not a strong +1 on this to begin with (maybe +0.5 or so), but after thinking about this issue all day now, I'm even more undecided.
For example, unwittingly inspired by Arnulf, I can go to one extreme and wonder if we should *ever* allow ourselves to be forced to play the legal game that "The Man" wants to impose upon us -- hey, let's just draw up our logo and move on and whatever happens happen!... But then I reply to myself -- hey, even the *FSF* uses some very formal, legal means (the GPL) to protect itself and its goals from The Man, and who am I to argue with the FSF?
Researching on Wikipedia about various trademark definitions and issues just made my head hurt.
I started looking around some more to see who is using trademarks in the open source world.  FSF doesn't say anything anywhere about trademarks of it's distinctive hand-drawn Gnu symbol or the FSF name.  Creative Commons does not use a (tm) on their logo -- but they do have a page carefully describing use of their trademarks.  OSI uses a (tm) on their logo; Apache does not; the Python Foundation does...  Aargh!
If anything, I feel comforted knowing that its not just me: the rest of the world is seriously confused by this issue too.
Looking forward to having the Board tell me how to think,


From: Michael P. Gerlek
Sent: Thu 9/28/2006 10:36 AM
To: 'dev at visibilitycommittee.osgeo.org'
Subject: RE: [VisCom] Logo/branding effort


Sorry you weren't there this morning, as this is clearly something that we need to come to consensus on at the Foundation level -- as opposed to just talking within VisCom, or just taking a majority vote.

Have fun at tomorrow's board meeting :-)


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Arnulf Christl [mailto:arnulf.christl at ccgis.de]
> Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2006 10:22 AM
> To: dev at visibilitycommittee.osgeo.org
> Subject: Re: [VisCom] Logo/branding effort
> Michael P. Gerlek wrote:
> > I have made a proposal for the logo design work here:
> >   http://wiki.osgeo.org/index.php/LogoProposal
> >
> > If we (VisCom) can vote on this tomorrow, then assuming it
> passes we can
> > give it over the board for their meeting on the 29th.
> >
> > -mpg
> Hi,
> go for it. I am so very fed up with not having proper logos
> that anything but what we not have now is better. I have also
> requested for proposals, one ranged at EUR10T one at EUR8T with
> comparable content. In our high price regions this seems to
> be the price tag.
> Sorry for the lengthy rest of this post.
> There are still some other things that I would like to
> discuss regarding Logo use
> (http://wiki.osgeo.org/index.php/Logo_Use)- which has by now
> mutated into Trademark Guidelines
> (http://wiki.osgeo.org/index.php/TrademarkGuidelines) which
> sort of offends me a bit. My bit, a little. Whatever.
> There has been some talk on whether we need to enforce usage
> of OSGeo with (tm) or (r). I have asked several times why
> this would seem a requirement and brought up some reasons on
> why I think it is not required but the issue was never resolved.
> Ubuntu policy (http://www.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/TrademarkPolicy)
> is less complicated and enforcing with regard to adding the
> (tm) or (r) than Mozilla thus I like it more. I suggest to
> remove the tm/r bit from:
> http://wiki.osgeo.org/index.php/TrademarkGuidelines.
> Done. ((I am unhappy at deleting other people's thoughts,
> blabla and please do not feel offended - in the end it is
> just a Wiki...))
> This article on Wikipedia differentiates trademark rights
> "use and registration":
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark#Establishing_trademark_
> rights_.E2.80.94_use_and_registration
> From Wikipedia:
> ''
> The law considers a trademark to be a form of property.
> Proprietary rights in relation to a trademark may be
> established through actual use in the marketplace, or through
> registration of the mark with the trade marks office (or
> "trademarks registry") of a particular jurisdiction. In many
> jurisdictions, trademark rights can be established through
> either or both means. Certain jurisdictions generally do not
> recognise trademarks rights arising through use (e.g. China).
> If trademark owners do not hold registrations for their marks
> in such jurisdictions, the extent to which they will be able
> to enforce their rights through trademark infringement
> proceedings will therefore be limited.
> ''
> Having the words "property" and "Proprietary rights"
> mentioned twice in the first dozen words shows in what realms
> we are moving. I don't believe that it will be necessary for
> OSGeo "to enforce their rights through trademark infringement
> proceedings". I simply cannot imagine that anybody would get
> anything at all out of misusing our Logo for any prolonged
> stretch of time. ((Having tm/r there or not does not make any
> difference with espect to the amount of back checking that we
> need to do)) It will only ruin the potential offender's
> reputation for quite a while. OSGeo only exists as it does
> because there is a large user base and OSGeo is NOT for
> profit. The situation is therefore very different to that of
> a commercial company trying to fight on the marketplace
> against another competitor with comparable products and
> services. OSGeo very explicitly says that it will *not* work
> (compete) against other existing initiatives but try to
> connect and collaborate. From this perspective
> the idea of somebody "stealing" the logo to make profit on
> the expense of OSGeo becomes rather negligible. Same is true
> for the communities we are delivering our goods. We do not
> compete with Microsoft for billions of browser users and
> predominance of the world.
> This does not mean that we can just forget about defining in
> which context the logo and term OSGeo / OSGeo.org etc. are to
> be used. We need to have a very clear (make it simple)
> guideline that people understand without having to ask a
> lawyer. But I do not support the idea of relying on the beast
> that we are fighting with the Free and Open Source idea. This
> simply does not make sense.
> == Services Related to OSGeo Software ==
> This aspect of logo use is highly interesting to service
> providers and closely related to the bold company listing
> that is being discussed elsewhere and starts to grow on the
> Drupal portal.
> I believe that this is going to be one of the natural and
> powerful branding multipliers for OSGeo visibility. Once
> people identify the OSGeo logo with some kind of 'certified'
> (insert other wording) services it will be a 'fast-selling
> item'. Just look at the CCGIS homepage and what do you see?
> The OGC logo :-( ...but not OSGeo because we cannot do it as
> there is no guideline yet. We (as a company) need more
> guidance on this and I am not going to get involved in
> designing the process / policy to avoid conflicting interests.
> == Logos and Merchandise ==
> I don't think that merchandise actually is "that's how we
> make some of the money that keeps us around." We are very
> different in dimension compared to Mozilla. They might make
> some income but we don't and likely never will. Our user base
> is just too small. Additionally I would suggest to remove the
> unique selling point CafePress. Its good that we have it but
> there are other remote places where people might want to use
> OSGeo shirts and can get them a lot cheaper than having to
> ship them around the world. ((I am just imagining CafePress
> shirts being produced in China with fibers from Brazil,
> colors from Germany, someone sticking it into a package in
> the US shipping it back to China. We are not that mad, are we?))
> Last but not least I will try to add the [[Category:Trademark
> Policy]] to all pages referring to logo, branding, linking,
> etc. We need to clean that out and come up with a stable
> version that can be approved by the board and moved to the
> Drupal Portal.
> Best regards,
> Arnulf.
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