What's in a Name: Can Trademarks be Helpful to Free Software Projects?

Karen Sandler (GNOME Foundation), Simon Phipps (Wipro), Gervase Markham (Mozilla), Larry Augustin (SugarCRM), Chris Messina (NeonMob)
Emerging Topics, Legal
Location: Meeting Room B3
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 3 ratings)

Trademark law is designed to prevent confusion in the market place but understanding how it can benefit the FOSS community can often be confusing. This panel will discuss whether it is useful to register a trademark and, if so, how to permit its use by others. Various policies and enforcement strategies will be evaluated from corporate and non-profit perspectives, often in strong disagreement.

Companies and non-profit foundations seek to accomplish different goals through the enforcement of trademarks. We will discuss:

  • whether trademarks actually help prevent confusion as to software origin and license requirements
  • if trademark enforcement can cause obstacles to development
  • different approaches to and recommendations for trademark policies
Photo of Karen Sandler

Karen Sandler

GNOME Foundation

Karen M. Sandler is an attorney with the Software Freedom Law Center and serves as an officer of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Prior to joining SFLC, she worked as an associate in the corporate departments of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in New York and Clifford Chance in New York and London. Sandler received her law degree from Columbia Law School in 2000, where she was a James Kent Scholar and co-founder of the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review. Sandler received her bachelor’s degree in engineering from The Cooper Union.

Photo of Simon Phipps

Simon Phipps

Wipro

Currently Director of the Open Source Advisory Practice at global technology implementer Wipro Technologies, Simon Phipps has engaged at a strategic level in the world’s leading technology companies, starting in roles such as field engineer, programmer, systems analyst and more recently taking executive leadership roles around open source. He worked with X-series standards in the 80s, on collaborative conferencing software in the 90s, helped introduce both Java and XML at IBM and was instrumental in open sourcing the whole software portfolio at Sun Microsystems.

As a director of the Open Source Initiative and of the UK’s Open Rights Group, he takes an active interest in digital rights issues and is a widely read commentator at InfoWorld, Computerworld and his own Webmink blog.

He holds a BSc in electronic engineering and is a Fellow of the British Computer Society and of the Open Forum Academy.

Photo of Gervase Markham

Gervase Markham

Mozilla

Gervase Markham has been involved in the Mozilla project since the turn of the millennium, and has made contributions in many different areas, from QA to web compatibility, governance to Bugzilla. His security ideas are behind the recent CSP and Subresource Integrity W3C specifications. He currently works for Mozilla on public policy, security, and copyright. He believes that the TLS/CA system is the worst way of doing public Internet communications security, apart from all the others.

Gerv is a committed Christian, and member of The Crowded House in Sheffield, UK, where he lives with his wife and three children. The title of his blog, Hacking for Christ, reflects his view that Christians should do everything to the glory of God.

Larry Augustin

SugarCRM

Larry Augustin is the CEO of SugarCRM. As an angel investor and advisor to early stage technology companies, he currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Fonality, Hyperic, Medsphere, OSDL, Pentaho, SugarCRM, VA Software (NASDAQ: LNUX), and XenSource. One of the group who coined the term “Open Source”, he has written and spoken extensively on Open Source worldwide. Worth Magazine named him to their list of the Top 50 CEOs in 2000. From 2002 to 2004 he was a Venture Partner at Azure Capital Partners. In 1993 he founded VA Linux (now VA Software), where he served as CEO until August 2002 and led the company through an IPO in 1999. Larry can be found online at http://lmaugustin.com.

Photo of Chris Messina

Chris Messina

NeonMob

Chris Messina arrived in San Francisco in 2004 as a volunteer for the Mozilla Foundation, leading the Spread Firefox community marketing project in raising over $220,000 in microdonations to launch Firefox to a worldwide audience with an ad in the New York Times.

He went on to co-found the Flock web browser and helped to organize the first-ever BarCamp in Palo Alto in 2005. Later, he co-founded Citizen Agency with Tara Hunt, opening a shared work environment called Citizen Space, giving rise to the coworking movement.

Chris now works on DiSo, an effort that he co-founded with Steve Ivy, to facilitate the development of building blocks for the open, social web. He is also a board member of the OpenID Foundation and works part-time for Vidoop, a Portland-based provider of secure internet identity technologies.

He has spoken at numerous conferences around the world and has been quoted in national publications such as The New York Times, Business Week, LA Times, MIT Technology Review and Wired. Chris is well-known in the Web 2.0, open source, and startup worlds for his community advocacy and work on open standards initiatives like microformats, OpenID, OAuth and Activity Streams.

  • Intel
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • SourceForge.net
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Facebook
  • Gear6
  • Kaltura
  • Liferay
  • MindTouch
  • MySpace.com
  • Novell, Inc.
  • Open Invention Network
  • Rackspace Cloud
  • Schooner Information Technology
  • Silicon Mechanics
  • Symbian Foundation
  • Twilio
  • WSO2
  • Yabarana Corporation

Sponsorship Opportunities

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at the conference, contact Sharon Cordesse at scordesse@oreilly.com

Download the OSCON Sponsor/Exhibitor Prospectus

Media Partner Opportunities

Download the Media & Promotional Partner Brochure (PDF) for information on trade opportunities with O'Reilly conferences or contact mediapartners@ oreilly.com

Press and Media

For media-related inquiries, contact Maureen Jennings at maureen@oreilly.com

OSCON Newsletter

To stay abreast of conference news and to receive email notification when registration opens, please sign up for the OSCON newsletter (login required)

Contact Us

View a complete list of OSCON contacts