Subject RE: [IBDI] Trademarks
Author David Trudgett
At 2001-04-18 04:07 +0200, Tobias Giesen wrote:

> > Let's suppose that we prominently mention in a Red Hat
> > RPM package description that the work is "based on open
> > source InterBase, a Borland product".
>That would indeed be asking for trouble.

You might be right; but why should it be asking for trouble? It seems
eminently reasonable that a product that is 99% InterBase should mention
that fact in a description of itself.

>I think Firebird doesn't need to
>conceil its origin, but it should not use the name 'Interbase' in any form
>of advertising.

Ah! but that is precisely the point! First, one doesn't need to advertise
to endorse or promote; that's fairly obvious. Second, an RPM description
may serve some advertising purpose for those browsing through RPMs for
suitable (in this case) database candidates, but advertising is not the
purpose of an RPM description. You see that there is a grey area here,
which is precisely the point I was making. It's conceivable that a person
might be influenced to use Firebird because its RPM description mentions
that it is based on Borland's InterBase ("only better" ;-)). In this case,
the RPM description certainly functions as a form of promotion, otherwise
the user may have passed over Firebird; however, the purpose and intent of
an RPM description is simply to describe the package, not to endorse or
promote it. Since Firebird is 99% InterBase, it is entirely reasonable to
avoid misleading people through not mentioning the fact (which is to say,
avoiding the confusing double negative, that in an RPM description, one
_ought to_ mention that Firebird is based on InterBase, in order to avoid
misleading people).

>OTOH, if such a description were found on a Red Hat box, it would be Red Hat
>who they'd have to sue, not any of us. Isn't that so?

That is true, but it was not the point I was making. It doesn't matter, in
this context, who receives or doesn't receive unwanted attention from
Borland's legal department.

Sorry about the ambiguities in 'we' and 'Red Hat' in my previous message.
'We' could refer to any group you like, while 'Red Hat' was used to refer
to the owners of the RPM package management software (but was ambiguous
because it could also refer to a particular distribution from Red Hat).

David Trudgett

PS Don't you sleep, Tobias?? :-)