Trademark case studies

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A Trademark case study is an practical example of a way someone might want to use the Sugar Labs trademark. We use it as a way to test different trademark policy options—how would it cope with that case?

A good case study is one which describes a real use which will stimulate us to think about how we would like our trademark to be used. It doesn't have to be a borderline 'edge' case. It is probably best to start with the clear cut cases then consider the limits later.

How to write a case study

  • Look at the case studies below.
  • If you can see a way to make one of those case studies better then edit that case study.
  • If you think of a way that someone might want to use the Sugar Labs trademark—that doesn't duplicate one of the case studies already here—then add that case study at the end of the page or wherever it best fits.
  • Follow the format of the other case studies here unless you think of a better format.

Used to label a computer with Sugar installed

You are a Chinese toy manufacturer and you are tired of selling toys to Fisher Price for 99 cents then watching them resell the same toy for $99. You have developed a cool looking child friendly green computer that is probably not toxic and can run Sugar but no one will buy it because no one has ever heard of you.

You want to put a big picture of the Sugar home screen and a CONTAINS SUGAR decal on the box because then it will look a bit like the XO.

Should we approve this use of our trademark?

You should apply for a license for our label program. We will need to verify that there actually is Sugar running. License should be for one year with updated rider from applicant for renewal. We shouldn't charge for licensing, including by commercial entities.

How should the policy work to achieve this

All uses of the decal need a contract. For an OEM like this case we would want to agree what you are including with our software and how you are using our trademark before we give permission.

Sugar on a Stick

You want to sell bootable usb drives with the official Sugar-on-a-Stick distribution and you want Sugar Labs silkscreened on the outside of each one.

Should we approve this use of our trademark?

Yes.

What should the policy be?

Approval by a trademark bot since you are using the software unchanged. Approval subject to you confirming you agree to our standard contract including clauses related to :

  • expiry date
  • renewal
  • language confirming no one gets a warranty from us
  • revocation if you break the terms
  • anything else?

A copy of the standard contract to be available from our trademark page

(Sean) No bot. As stated previously there needs to be contact, review, and approval for a term period.

Sugar on a Stick with extra stuff

You want to sell bootable usb drives with Sugar on a Stick plus extra software (some of it non-free) .

Should we approve this use of our trademark?

Yes—provided it is clear which is our software and which is by others.

(Sean) This can't be Sugar on a Stick, but it is a fine candidate for the labeling program.

What should the policy be?

You can call it Sugar if it is Sugar but you you must not put our name on stuff we didn't make.

(Sean) The above is ambiguous, unfortunately. However, the labeling program should cover this case.

Sugar on a Stick with modified stuff

You want to sell bootable usb drives with a version of Sugar on a Stick that has been revised to make it more culturally appropriate by adding references to your god at the start and end of each activity.

Should we approve this use of our trademark?

No. It isn't our version of the software.

(Sean) This can't be Sugar on a Stick, but could be a candidate for the labeling program.

What should the policy be?

If you have adapted our work then we don't know for sure what you changed and we don't want people blaming us for what you did. You can put "Based on the Sugar software system (R)" in the small print on the back. If you want your changes included in our version then submit those changes to us for consideration and we might include them in the next version.

(Sean) "Based on the Sugar software system" is not a phrase we should use; the labelling program will enumerate acceptable phrases. One of the conditions of licensing through the labelling program will be clear responsibility for technical support.

Sugar cubes

You sell sugar cubes and you think our logo looks good so you copy it and put it on your boxes of sugar cubes.

Should we approve this use of our trademark?

Hmmm. Maybe we should have picked a name which was less generic.

(Sean) heh—a topic for (re)discussion in marketing meetings! More seriously, a trademark is granted for a specific scope of activity; the cane and beet sugar associations don't "do" computer software last I checked. On the other hand, if they use VAG Rounded Light and our color scheme (in other words, if they copy our logo), throw the book at 'em.

What should the policy be?

If you sell sugar then we can't stop you calling it sugar but leave the logo alone.

Sugar development laboratory

You are Slovakia's leading developer of sugarbeet processing equipment, serving the sugar beet industry throughout Slovakia and parts of Ukraine and Hungary. Sugar Labs is the name you use for your research reports, including the sugar beet related software you market throughout central eastern Europe.

Should we approve this use of our trademark?

Oh dear. Don't know.

(Sean) Doesn't apply, it's not software.

What should the policy be?

More stuff goes here.

(Sean) complain to our MEPs that Eastern European beet sugar round trips through the Netherlands by truck to win EU subsidies, adding to pollution too.

Look and Feel

You think Sugar is a stupid name for a software distribution but you like the stylised man surrounded by menu options so you use that look and feel in your proprietary hedge fund management software

Should we approve this use of our trademark?

The look and feel is a pretty fundamental part of the software which we have licensed under the GPL. Stopping them using that would pretty much stop them using Sugar at all. Wouldn't that be against the GPL? Would we even want to regulate that use?

(Sean) But you just said it wasn't Sugar, but proprietary hedge fund software. So no, they can't use the XO man. And by the way, neither can we—OLPC has asked us not to.

What should the policy be?

More stuff goes here.

$DISTRO

(Sean) You like the Sugar on a Stick concept, but you prefer to use Ubuntu, or Debian, or openSUSE as the underlying distro on your liveUSB implementation instead of the current Fedora. You want to call it Sugar on a Cube and your visuals have sugar cubes with a USB connector poking out.

Should we approve this use of our trademark?

(Sean) No, because that will be too similar to Sugar-on-a-Stick and will cause confusion (the essence of trademark is to avoid confusion). This is precisely why licensing cannot be "automatic". A different name will have to be chosen.

What should the policy be?

(Sean) This is a perfect candidate for the labeling program, once the name problem is sorted out. We wish to encourage this case!

Intel Classmate partner OEM

(Sean) I am one of Intel's 40+ local partners, assembling Classmate v2 machines in a country. The local government is considering purchasing 258,000 machines, but they are balking at the cost of Microsoft Windows licensing and proprietary kids' desktop licensing. I'd like to propose Sugar instead and call my machine "Sugar Babies".

Should we approve this use of our trademark?

(Sean) Considering the size of the potential order and the opportunity for Sugar, we will give careful consideration to your licensing application and may well make an exception to our usual rule of avoiding Sugar in the name of your product.

What should the policy be?

(Sean) A perfect candidate for the labeling program.

Sugar on a bootable USB stick as part of a Educational Suite

Is inclusion of Sugar (sugar-emulator) in a suite of educational software where the icon says "Sugar" on the desktop or in the menus an allowed use?

If same is accessed via gdm or other desktop switcher with "Sugar" label?

How should such a stick be labeled and advertised? ie: -contains or Sugar-Desktop ?

-with Sugar Educational Software ?

-XXXX-Sugar ?

Can they use "SugarLabs" in label?

examples: openSUSE-Edu-li-f-e or Fedora-12-i686-Live-Edu

(Sean) that's "Sugar Labs", not "SugarLabs" ;-) A perfect candidate for the labeling program. If there's an idea to do advertising, let's talk - very few FOSS projects do any advertising, promotion, or end-user marketing.

Should we approve this use of our trademark?

(Sean) Sure - we wish to encourage precisely this case.

What should the policy be?

(Sean) The labeling program is designed to promote Sugar in a way easily recognizable by teachers, parents, education buyers, etc.

Case Name Here

Should we approve this use of our trademark?

Stuff goes here.

What should the policy be?

More stuff goes here.