Home: Model Trademark Guidelines

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Welcome to the Model Trademark Guidelines, written by and for free and open source software communities. This site proposes language one might use for trademark guidelines for FLOSS software projects. It describes various provisions that might be included in trademark guidelines and discusses the legal considerations for the provisions. It is not intended to advocate for any particular set of permissions or restrictions, but rather is designed to provide a range of choices that would be found lawful and enforceable under trademark law, that are consistent with FLOSS culture, and that respect the trademark owner's desire to ensure that the software distributed under the trademark delivers a consistent user experience and meets the brand promise of the name. If you're not yet familiar with the project, please read How the Project Works below.

The Guidelines

Model Trademark Guidelines

This is where you find the current version of the Model Trademark Guidelines, Version 1.0.

Working drafts

This is the area of the website where we are working on and discussing future changes to the guidelines.

Project trademark policies

Here is a partial listing of various OSS Trademark Policies.

Sites Using the Model Trademark Guidelines

See them in action.

Case law

Here you will find cases involving trademarks for free and open source software, as well as some other relevant cases.

How the Project Works

Site Organization

There are two main areas, both linked above. The "Model Trademark Guidelines" page is a final, numbered version of the Guidelines. The page is protected so that it cannot be changed.

The working area of the project is the "Working drafts" pages. These pages can be modified and are where you can edit existing content, add sections, rearrange content, remove sections, or whatever you suggest.

The "Discussion" pages (the tab at top left on each page) are for conversations between project participants about proposed edits. This will include things like whether topics should be included or not, and structure and organization.

The "Commentary" pages are in their own "Commentary" namespace and are explanatory material relevant to one using the model trademark guidelines, like the Reporter's Notes in a Restatement or advisory committee notes for model laws. They describe things one might consider when adopting the Model Trademark Guidelines and also reflect what choices have been made in the Guidelines and why.

How to Participate

Jump in and start editing! The software used for this site is the same software used for Wikipedia, so the functionality may already be familiar to you. You can find basic help on the "Help" tab on the left column and find more extensive help at the Wikipedia help pages.

Please keep all discussion public, either on the discussion pages on this site or on the mailing list (sign up here), so that everyone will have full access to all the thought processes, conversations, and iterations of the guidelines.

While you do not need to create a login to use the site, if you do set up a login you can set watches on the pages of interest to you. After you are logged in you can add pages to a "Watchlist": when you are on a page you would like to watch, select "Watch" from the dropdown arrow just to the left of the search box at the top of the page. You will also need to set your user preferences to be notified by email: under your "Preferences" tab, in the "User Options" section check "'E-mail me when a page I'm watching is changed" and thereafter you will receive an email alerting you of any changes to pages you have added to your Watchlist.

There has been some spamlinking on the site, so you may be challenged with a ReCaptcha. Confirming an email address should eliminate ReCaptcha if you are logged in. (if it doesn't work properly, or have suggestions for how to implement it better, please email me).

We welcome everyone's views and hope to have some strong debates about what FLOSS software communities need and what they can do to protect their legal interests.