Talk:Wikimedia trademarks

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Does Wikimedia have formal trademarks?[edit]

Just a short question-- does Wikipedia/Wikimedia/Wikitionary/Wikiquote/even Nupedia, for that matter have their names officially trademarked, by the US government? I'd be willing to get the rights for Canada, and I'm sure others would be willing to do the same for their own countries. Although it isn't vital now, we should be prepared for anything, and make sure we register them. - user:zanimum

Trademark in the US is established by use of a name for a product or service in a distinct area of use. No formal or official anything is needed to establish a trademark. However, in order to defend a trademark in court the trademark owner has to register the trademark. That does not prevent the trademark owner from asking people outside of court to stop infringing on a trademark before registration.
But here is a very important point; an enforceable trademark only exists so long as the trademark owner is willing to defend the trademark (this is different than copyright, which is enforeable no matter how lax the copyright owner is about misuse of their work). So even if we had a registered trademark (something Jimbo is working on getting for Wikipedia and Wikimedia; others will follow later since it costs about US$400 and a lot of paperwork for every registration) we could lose exclusive control over that name if we don't defend our exclusive rights to use it in our area of use. For example, if another wiki encyclopedia called itself Wikipedia and we didn't do anything about that, then we could lose the ability to enforce our exclusive right to use that trademark (meaning we would have to share that name with anybody else who wanted to use it).
Things would get confusing if somebody used the Wikipedia trademark outside the scope of a wiki encyclopedia (such as having a brand of detergent called Wikipedia; no joke, there is a detergent called Linux and that use is not a violation of Linus' trademark). In that case we probably would not be able to enforce our exclusive rights over Wikipedia since it fell outside of our use. But in more recent times corporations have tried to enforce their trademarks across all uses and IIRC the courts have moved a bit in that direction (this is how things are for all .com, .org and .net names on the Internet in fact). But then IANAL. --Maveric149 15:24, 20 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Mav explained part of the problem: if you have a trademark you have to enforce it. If the Wikmedia Foundation registers a trademark for any of the works it is a licensed distributor of, it's placing itself in a very nasty position:
  • it's making a bogus trademark application, because it's not really its work, but is the work of the authors and the trademarked name is really the name the authors are using for their work and the authors are the proper owner, not the Foundation.
  • it's supposed to allow free distribution of the works with the title the authors are using, per the GFDL license the authors are granting to it.
  • it's supposed to enforce the trademark and prevent distribution of the works with the title. At which point it loses its own GFDL license to the works and reason for being, because it's no longer possible for it to host the works because it now no longer has the required license.
It's a really foolish activity for the Foundation to be engaged in, since its whole reason for being is to facilitate the creation and distribution of the works and the trademark applications have exactly the opposite effect. Jamesday 17:52, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
I don't agree with the above analysis. The trademarks have a clear history, they are associated with one entity that has been using them contiuously since they were introduced into interstate (and international commerce). The authors did not create Wikipedia or any other project, they particpate in it and upload their content to it and they grant an irrevocable license to the owners/maintainers of the site (the Wikimedia Foundation). I know the James and I have a long standing disagreement about the scope of the GNU FDL, it has been my position that it is a grant of copyright because it is an irrevocable license with invariant conditions, this is practically indistinguishable from a nonexclusive grant of copyright, though broader because you usually do not grant someone the right to modify your work when you assign them copyright; James seems to think because it is called a "license" that a license holder (which is someone who has copyright authority over a work) cannot enforce the license, but since it is an irrevocable license coupled with an interest it has equitable as well as legal effect. I strongly disagree with the approach that says that Wikimedia cannot enforce copyright and that people who contribute to its website own it and do not know of any judge in the U.S. that has taken James position which seems to be incognizant of the third sector of our economy, i.e. the not-for-profit sector which is essentially a "public trust". If there is any case law in this area I would appreciate the appropriate citations. Thank you. — Alex756 01:16, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

No longer an academic question[edit]

The issue of trademarks is no longer an academic question. An anonymous person, using the infamous 1&1 web hosting service, has created onlinereference.info, a domain which contains complete copies of en:Wikipedia[1], en:Wiktionary[2], and en:Wikiquote[3], even including user pages. These copies do not give attribution to the projects; they claim to be the projects. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 12:42, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation trademarking 維基, the Chinese word for "wiki"?[edit]

A user on the Chinese edition of Wikitravel has made the claim that we can't use the Chinese name 維基旅行, because 維基 (weiji → "wiki") is supposedly trademarked by the Wikimedia Foundation. This sounds exceedingly strange to me, but would the WMF care to clarify? Jpatokal 13:20, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

I am 99% sure that the Wikimedia Foundation does not own trademarks on "wiki" (in any language). However, please e-mail mgodwin at wikimedia.org for an official answer. Cbrown1023 talk 15:37, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Curiouser and curiouser. The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office's database has an entry for 維基 as a trademark of 維基媒體基金會 aka WIKIMEDIA FOUNDATION, INC, and the Chinese Wikipedia entry for 維基 is very emphatic about the term being reserved exclusively for the WMF. I think a public clarification from the Foundation is very much in order. Jpatokal 03:24, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Maybe Wikimedia Taiwan would be able to help us with this, but if you want a clarification from the Foundation, e-mail mgodwin at wikimedia.org. You will not get a response here (unless you ask him to post here in response to your e-mail). Cbrown1023 talk 15:43, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I have mailed him already. Jpatokal 00:55, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

No response from Mike or from WM-TW. Am I being stonewalled here, since Exact details of the status of registration of these and other trademarks are confidential for legal reasons? Jpatokal 17:34, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

I doubt it... they probably just don't know the answer or haven't searched yet. Please also read the big notice at the top: This page is obsolete or no longer maintained, and kept for historical interest. Cbrown1023 talk 23:04, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Received a response from Mike now, will report back once this is sorted out. But it's not sensible to call a page "obsolete" if if hasn't been replaced by a new version... Jpatokal 03:40, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

I've started a thread about this at Talk:Trademark_practices_discussion#維基 --John Vandenberg (talk) 14:02, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

[edit]

Note that myself and a few other Wikimedia editors decided to oppose the registration of the community logo as a trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation. The history of the logo, the intents behind our action and our hopes for the future are described in detail on Community Logo/Reclaim the Logo; to keep the discussion in one place, please leave your comments on the talk page. (And if you speak a language other than English, perhaps you can translate the page and bring it to the attention of your local Wikimedia community?). John Vandenberg (talk) 15:54, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Trademarks in WMF annual plan: 1.3 M$[edit]

See Grants_talk:APG/Proposals/2013-2014_round2/Wikimedia_Foundation/Proposal_form#Domain_names_and_trademarks. --Nemo 12:41, 12 April 2014 (UTC)