April 13, 2017

Commoning Before Trademarks

Earlier in the week Jo Hinchliffe spotted that a company was trying to trademark the term "Makerspace". Following the community reaction, they've stated that they aren't going to pursue it, which is good to hear.

I'm not going to cover what happened, Jo's MakerspaceGate blog post is a much better source for that.

Marc Barto's post about the incident The trademarking of maker culture asks what sort of response we should make for the next time this happens.

The default assumption is that we should trademark the term (and other related terms that the community is interested in) ourselves as a defensive measure, but that leads to discussions about who the "we" there should be, how they might police it, and who pays the registration fee.

The perceived wisdom (i.e. IANAL...) is that trademark holders have to defend any infringement lest they lose it through genericization (when "hoover" becomes the term for any vacuum cleaner, etc.). What if we could find ways to deliberately push terms we didn't want anyone to own into the generic category?

How do we common the terms which may otherwise be captured as trademarks?

Posted by Adrian at April 13, 2017 10:51 AM | TrackBack

This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

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