Re: Recent edits in the wiki / Trademark issue
Russ Nelson <nelson <at> crynwr.com>
2013-02-03 22:22:14 GMT
Simon Poole writes:
> As you may have noticed we have removed all links displaying the Google
> geocoding service from the wiki. These changes are a consequence of a
> legal issue with respect to the trademark GEOCODE owned by Geocode, Inc.
> of Alexandria, Virginia, USA.
WRONG, and FAIL. First, it's not your job to enforce somebody else's
trademark. Since you didn't tell us, I can only speculate that the
OSMF received a demand letter. If so, then SURELY the letter contains
advice for the generic term for "geocode". If the letter did not
contain such a term, then you should write back to the authors of the
demand letter saying "Surely we have no intention of infringing your
trademark, so please tell us what is the generic term for geocoding?
This should be a term which uniquely identifies the service for which
you claim "geocode" is a trademark for. Until you tell us this, we
intend to take no action, but as a good faith measure, once you tell
us, we will act as promptly as humanly possible to ensure that we do
not infringe your trademark."
The way trademarks work (and it surely seems that the OSMF is ignorant
of this hence your actions) is that a trademark is an *adjective*
modifying a *noun*. Thus, it is a Ford automobile, or an Apple
computer. Ford is the adjective, automobile is the generic
noun. Anybody is free to use the generic noun. (Or in the case of
Honestly, it's like you never talked to a lawyer about this.
> If you find use of the term "geocode" on our wiki or help site
> please replace it with a generic term (for example "search"), or
> report it to my e-mail address.
WRONG and FAIL. "search" is not the generic term for "geocode". The
two actions are in no way related. A better term but still inadequate
for the task is "translation", since the action translates from one
addressing system into another.
The generic term for "geocode" seems to be, without any further advice
from the trademark holder, "geocode". I imagine that a generic term
could be "geographical encoding", or "geocode" for short. Oh, oops,
trademark infringing. How about "geographical translation"?
Oh, oops, "GeoTran".com exists, so they probably think that
"geographical translation" infringes their trademark.
What IS the generic term that "geocode" trademarks??? Surely the
trademark holder knows!!! The OSMF should ask them.
> Both the use of the term "geocode" and the use of the Google API are
> merely incidental to us.
If the Google API contains a word claimed as a trademark, I would be
happy to create a gateway which uses but does not make public the
infringing trademark. You could link to that using a generic term like
"geocode" or "geographical address translation", as you wish.
> Please address any questions on the matter to me by e-mail
--my blog is at http://blog.russnelson.com
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