Threatened – how do we protect our projects? May 22, 2007Posted by Florian in GPE, Maemo, Source, World.
Some days ago a friendly colleague notified me that Mr. France registered trademarks for some community projects. At least GPE, Opie and IPKG are affected. It looks like some handhelds.org administrators believe that they personally own the projects that are or were hosted there.
Unluckily Mr. France started to work with these trademarks already even if they are not assigned yet:
- The OpieII project had to change its name.
- Contributors were threatened and urged to give up the name GPE
- The GPE IRC channel (#gpe) at freenode.net was hijacked
- Freenode staff members were threatened when they decided to give #gpe back
One fact that raised my attention is that the entries at the USPTO server says that George France was the owner of these trademarks but http://handhelds.org/legal differs from that.
There is a thread about this topic at the Opie mailinglist starting with this message.
Finally the really interesting question: How do we get the affected projects out of this situation? Or maybe even more important: How can we reduce the risk for something like this happening again?
One idea might be to object the trademark – everyone who wants to help could send an email to the USPTO trademark assistance center (that is at TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov) Or just send them a postcard – the snailmail address is here.Google is quite useful if you want to show up that the name GPE was used before the date mentioned in the file. For the history of the name ‘Opie’ just refer to the linked mailinglist thread above.