Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ubuntu case illustrates use of a trademarked name in another for correction; also shows why "self-trolling" is not necessary to defend rights

There is another trademark case, that vaguely reminds one of the “AIDS denial case”, where a programmer named Micah Lee created a website called “fixubuntu” (link  as explained in Electonic Frontier Foundation’s article by Daniel Nazer, link), to deal with a privacy problem concerning the use of the Ubuntu mark in searches. 
The company Canonical sent Lee cease-and-desists claiming trademark infringement, when it is apparently not a violation of law (or considered dilution) to incorporate an existing mark into a domain name meant to parody, criticize or fix the produces or services of another site.
EFF points out that Canonical feared that if it were not aggressive, it could lose its mark. There are various accounts of its reasong, such as this by Mike Shuttleworth, here.  But companies are not required to monitor every use of the mark.  The right to use the mark can be lost only to “genericide” (where a mark becomes a common word) or abandonment, the article explains. 

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