Chapter 8: Balancing Sharing v. Protecting

To Be Permissive or Not?

Given your project is free or open source software, there is a strong chance you probably would like to be more permissive with your trademarks than proprietary software right owners. Typically, you FOSS projects want to encourage free and open dissemination of your original software under its name.

So, even though sometimes you may have the legal right to stop others from making copies of your software and distributing them, even in a commercial setting you may not want to stop that use. There may also be a point where enforcement of trademark rights will be a breach of the FOSS license.

Projects don’t always agree about the extent to which they want others to use the project’s trademark. Because opinions differ, a trademark policy will help others understand the choices you have made:

If you have identified an activity that might infringe your rights, you will want to seek legal advice. Speak to a trademark law expert and discuss your options.

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