Subject Re: [Firebird-general] Fedora and Firebird
Author Helen Borrie
At 11:14 PM 22/11/2003 +0100, you wrote:
>I found an interesting news on a german IT news page
>( The name of Red
>Hat's new consumer version of Linux, Fedora, is in conflict with an open
>source project from Cornell University which started 1998. It's an
>management system which collects information from digital libraries and
>other information system in xml format and publishes this information.
>In May 2003 version 1.0 was released. The name fedora was never legally
>protected. The scientist are now saying that trademark are not in the
>spirit of open source community and hoped Red Hat would respect that
>too. But Red Hat didn't show any cooperation. So now they are thinking
>about takeing some legal activities.
>The scientist were also saying that they have to explain quite a lot to
>their user what's the difference between their fedora and Fedora Linux.
>Somehow I feel that I heard once a quite similar story... ;-)
>But of course it's difficult for me to understand that Fedora user don't
>understand the difference between managemensystem and operation system....

The problems would be similar to those for our end users. Do we really
expect end-users to understand that two Fedoras on their computer are not
parts of the same thing? or two Firebirds? When it comes to choosing
products and getting support, the wrongful use of the existing name
confuses people, as we are seeing. If Red Hat wasn't using "Fedora" when
Cornell adopted it, Cornell has a right to ask for a cease-and-desist.

Let's hope the Cornell project doesn't have to resort to legal action. If
they do, they have prior claim in Category 9, through continuous usage,
just as the Firebird project does. It seems that, like Mozilla, Red Hat
failed to do the proper search when publicly releasing its product under a
code name that was hitherto internal.

If Red Hat decides to be a gorilla about it, it is probably in a better
financial position to fight a challenge in the courts than is
Mozilla. That doesn't make it morally right and proper to steal another OS
project's name and defend it by bullying and FUD, though.

I suppose it is also possible that Red Hat already registered the Fedora
trademark, prior to 1998, and thinks that gives it some special right. It
doesn't, if they haven't used it. Registering the mark doesn't protect
anything, it just gives them more support to any evidence they can show the
courts that they were already using the mark when the Cornell project
adopted it.