On wikipedia-l, Ed Poor raised the question of PhatNav (one of the many
sites that copy us) calling itself "a Wikipedia". As Jimbo indicated,
this is something we need to guard against, otherwise we risk losing
trademark protection for the Wikipedia name.
This brings up again the issue of whether we should start registering
trademarks belonging to the Wikimedia Foundation. Without necessarily
resorting to threats of legal action, I think it would be far more
effective if we can tell people "Wikipedia is a registered trademark of
the Wikimedia Foundation" instead of just "Please do not use the name
Wikipedia on your website as if it was the name of your encyclopedia".
Trademark registration is something people will recognize and respect.
They will generally respond more quickly, and they will be more likely
to comply, even if the person notifying them is not in an "official"
The filing fee for a trademark application is US $335 (I'm assuming we
would start by registering in the US). We should at least consider
registering trademarks for Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikiquote,
Wikisource, and Wikibooks. Granted, with our current financial resources
it may not be practical to try and register all of our trademarks in
every country we reach. But US registration is an important start, and
would facilitate international registrations later. Given the exposure
we're getting, I think registering Wikipedia as a trademark is
Toby Bartels wrote:
> Dan Carlson wrote:
>>Toby Bartels wrote:
>>>Have we tried telling them "Wikipedia is a trademark
>>>of the Wikimedia Foundation" yet?
>>Like so many others, IANAL, but I've seen statements to the following
>>effect: "(term one) is a trademark, and (term two) is a registered
>>trademark, of (company name)." So there's definitely a difference.
>For example, according to a bottle on my colleague's desk here,
>"diet PEPSI" is a registered trademark of PepsiCo ("®"),
>while "LIGHT · CRISP · REFRESHING" is merely a trademark ("TM").
>But try marketing /your/ soft drink as "light, crisp, and refreshing".
>If you don't respond to their inevitable order to cease and desist,
>then they'll register their original phrase, sue you, and win!
>(OK, so IANAL, but I'll still bet that they'd win.)
Pepsi would probably try all kinds of things to make you stop, but I'm
much more skeptical about whether they could win a lawsuit. Trademark
protection is normally denied for terms that are merely descriptive of
the goods or services involved. I'm not a trademark examiner, but my
conclusion would be that "light, crisp, and refreshing" are simply
descriptive terms, so they can't be a trademark.
"TM" is a symbol anybody can use to claim something is a trademark. No
registration, or even application to register the trademark, is
required. So this is a classic example of the difference between
registered and unregistered marks.
Pepsi has plenty of money, and could certainly file a trademark
application for "light, crisp, and refreshing." So why isn't it
registered, when "Diet Pepsi" is? Probably because Pepsi hasn't filed an
application, and doesn't want to, since their lawyers realize there's a
good chance the Patent and Trademark Office will refuse to register it.
Toby Bartels wrote:
>>Pepsi would probably try all kinds of things to make you stop, but I'm
>>much more skeptical about whether they could win a lawsuit. Trademark
>>protection is normally denied for terms that are merely descriptive of
>>the goods or services involved. I'm not a trademark examiner, but my
>>conclusion would be that "light, crisp, and refreshing" are simply
>>descriptive terms, so they can't be a trademark.
>"light", "crisp", and "refreshing" are simply descriptive terms,
>but "light, crsip, refreshing" is a distinctive phrase used by Pepsi.
>So that latter may be a trademark even if the former is not.
Well, if Pepsi had invented a term like "crsip", I'd certainly be open
to considering that a trademark. And I'm aware of the argument that you
can combine otherwise purely descriptive terms into a trademark.
Personally, I don't buy it in this situation. Besides, I suspect Pepsi
might also try to discourage anyone marketing a soft drink as "crisp and
refreshing", or "refreshing, crisp, and light".
>Still, since NOUIAL (neither of us is a lawyer), we won't get very far
>arguing about whether this particular phrase will work or not.
I only said I wasn't a trademark examiner. But yes, the argument can't
produce a definitive ruling on the question, because neither of us is a
>>Pepsi has plenty of money, and could certainly file a trademark
>>application for "light, crisp, and refreshing." So why isn't it
>>registered, when "Diet Pepsi" is? Probably because Pepsi hasn't filed an
>>application, and doesn't want to, since their lawyers realize there's a
>>good chance the Patent and Trademark Office will refuse to register it.
>Another possibility: Their lawyers don't see a reason to do so.
>You seem to be implicitly assuming that an unregistred trademark
>doesn't do Pepsi any good.
I agree that I've made an implicit assumption, but your identification
of it is wrong. My assumption is that a registered trademark would
benefit Pepsi more than an unregistered trademark. We may not
necessarily agree about how much benefit registration brings, but I hope
you're not trying to argue that registration doesn't do *any* good. My
point is that if you file an application and get rejected, that's a
pretty good argument that you don't actually have a trademark. So the
analysis I'm attributing to Pepsi's lawyers is this - that the marginal
benefit of registration is outweighed by the risk of having registration
I am not trying to argue that an unregistered trademark is worthless. I
apologize for any misunderstanding I may have caused in that regard. And
in pushing the idea of registering our trademarks, I do not mean to
suggest that we shouldn't also take other available steps to protect them.
Finally, Toby Bartels also wrote:
>With both names and jurisdictions, our determination of what is critical
>should be based on the specific legal needs that present themselves to us.
>For example, if PhatNav refuses to respect our trademark without legal action,
>then we'll need to register the terms that PhatNav is infriniging upon
>in whatever jurisdiction will have the greatest effect upon PhatNav.
>And if PhatNav is the first immediate problem, then that would determine
>what and where we register first.
A trademark application takes considerable time to process (up to a year
and sometimes longer in the US, I don't know about Europe). And of
course, lawsuits can take a long time too, if it comes to that. So while
the facts on the ground are important, I think an important reason to
register trademarks is to anticipate what people may do in the future.
We shouldn't just wait for problems to come to us.
>There are problems with posting to this list from
>gmane, so I'm sending this on behalf of Anthere and
Is it a general problem, or specific to this list? I at least didn't
have any trouble reading it there. It's hard enough getting people to
use the right mailing list around here without there being technical
>Anthere supports what Michael is saying about the need
>to register trademarks, and would like to know if
>anyone has made any estimates of the cost of doing
>this in each country. Basically, has any overall
>amount been calculated?
The last time this came up, somebody indicated that the fee in Germany
was 300 euros. I haven't confirmed this, but it was also stated that
registration would be valid for the entire EU. If so, presumably the fee
would be the same whether we registered in Germany, France, or someplace
else? I would still register in the US first, because the foundation is
based in the US.
The 335 US dollars is a filing fee to apply for registration of a single
trademark, and I'm guessing 300 euros is the same thing. The more
trademarks we want to register, the more it might cost us. Of all our
possible trademarks, I think Wikipedia is the most critical, so we
should probably start there and then consider the others.
Additionally, Toby mentions (based on our own content) that attorney
fees for filing the application could be $800 to $1500. But I think
Jimbo might decide to see if somebody will do it pro bono, since
Wikimedia is a nonprofit.
>Jamesday has suggested that registering the trademarks
>are probably not really needed for protection as the
>name is quite well known now. For domain names, the
>uniform domain name dispute policy requires that the
>name be registered and used in good faith. Stealing a
>Wikipedia name is bad faith and makes any site likely
I'm not sure that I agree with Jamesday as to how well known we are yet.
In certain circles, yes, but we're only starting to really get
mainstream media coverage, and Wikipedia is hardly a household name
offline. I may be misunderstanding his point here, since it's filtered
through Angela, but the purpose of trademark registration would be more
than just to keep somebody from using, say, wikipedia.fr as a domain name.
"Magnus Manske" <magnus.manske(a)web.de> schrieb:
> If the GFDL really requires that list *on the same document* (can't be
> really the same page, think printed version again), can't we declare the
> whole wikipedia as one giant document in itself? [Translation to
> legalese would be required]
The GFDL really requires that; furthermore, it specifies _where_ in the
document it must be:
"List on the Title Page, as authors, one or more persons or entities responsible for authorship of the modifications in the Modified Version, together with at least five of the principal authors of the Document (all of its principal authors, if it has fewer than five), unless they release you from this requirement."
Where title page is defined as:
"The "Title Page" means, for a printed book, the title page itself, plus such following pages as are needed to hold, legibly, the material this License requires to appear in the title page. For works in formats which do not have any title page as such, "Title Page" means the text near the most prominent appearance of the work's title, preceding the beginning of the body of the text."
Thus, the GNU/FDL not only requires us to put the 5 main authors on the page, it requires us to
put the last author plus the 5 main authors of the previous version directly under the title of the
page. Calling the whole thing a single document, it means we have to do so on the Main Page
I was just made aware of this thread, and I realise
that potentially a legal issue is discussed on
wikitech. I would like the opinion of our lawyers on
this specific point.
So, tel me if I understand well, to comply with the
gfdl the best we can (and we already know it is
problematic), what you suggest is to list first the
real name contributors, followed by pseudonymes, then
by ips. Of course, the number of names is limited. We
can expect that on many articles, the number of names
will be over 50 or more.
I understood the gfdl "normal" requirement is to list
the 5 main contributors. We probably know that we can
define who the 5 main contributors are. Indeed, unless
the number of contributors is below 5, there is no way
to report with honesty the legal requirements.
This said, if we can't report reality, why would we
report a group of contributors more than another ? If
a pseudonyme wrote 95% of an article, and 5%
officially real names corrected typos, is that really
correct to indicate these 5 real names and not the
I would say it is not. Legally, that is incorrect.
>From a community view point, that is setting a case
which I am not sure is really positive.
It think that it would be more correct to make random
choice among pseudo or real names, or to choose among
the last ones.
I will forward this to wikipedia-l and foundation-l,
since I believe this is more than a technical issue.
Evan Prodromou a �crit:
> So, I'd like to add a little block of attribution
data to each page
> (optional, per-installation; I'm guessing Wikipedia
> this). Something along the lines of:
> This article last edited on April 21, 2004 by
> Based on work by Alice Notaperson, Bob
> Crankshaft, Deckchair and Eggplant, and
> For each (distinct) person who's listed in the old
table, it'd show
> their real name if it's set, or their user name if
not. All anonymous
> edits would be lumped under "anonymous editors".
Contributors would be
> listed with real-named folks first, then pseudo'd
> anonymous. There's no particular reason for that; it
could be any
> other way (although I don't see a big point making
> The goal here is to make it easy for redistributors
to comply with
> license provisions that require author attribution
(such as some
> Creative Commons licenses), without having to dig
through a whole
> bunch of history pages.
> Anyhoo, the Metadata.php code already does most of
this logic, albeit
> for output in RDF format. I'd like to take that
stuff and put it in
> the Article class, in a method like
"getContributors". The method
> could then be used both from the attribution code
and from the RDF
> metadata code.
> getContributors would return an array of arrays,
each of which would
> 0. User ID
> 1. User account name
> 2. User real name, if set
> Another option would be to create User objects for
each entry in the
> returned array, but a) I don't think that most of
the User object
> fields (email, preferences) are needed, and b) I'd
be worried about
> slingin' around incomplete User objects. So, I think
the arrays are
> the best bet.
> Does returning an array of arrays seem insane? Would
it be wrong to
> add this method to Article? If so, where else would
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Toby Bartels wrote:
>>This brings up again the issue of whether we should start registering
>>trademarks belonging to the Wikimedia Foundation. Without necessarily
>>resorting to threats of legal action, I think it would be far more
>>effective if we can tell people "Wikipedia is a registered trademark of
>>the Wikimedia Foundation" instead of just "Please do not use the name
>>Wikipedia on your website as if it was the name of your encyclopedia".
>>Trademark registration is something people will recognize and respect.
>>They will generally respond more quickly, and they will be more likely
>>to comply, even if the person notifying them is not in an "official"
>Have we tried telling them "Wikipedia is a trademark
>of the Wikimedia Foundation" yet? How did it work?
>Why do we think that adding the adjective "registered"
>will make it work better?
I don't know what we've tried telling them. The case on wikien-l that
precipitated this discussion was PhatNav.com, and Timwi contacted them
in an unofficial capacity, but I don't know what exactly he said. Also,
PhatNav is perhaps the worst of our forks in terms of complying with the
GFDL. For people like that, the fewer excuses we leave them, the better.
Simply asserting that something is a trademark can be an effective
approach with many people. But just claiming a trademark does not
necessarily make it one. Being able to say that it's registered means
that it's recognized by the Patent and Trademark Office. In a sense, it
makes the trademark "official", although the courts and not the PTO have
the final say on what is a trademark.
Once more I would like to ask whether someone would be willing to
actually start a Wikimedia project for the collection of images and
possibly other media files that can be used in Wikipedia and similar
projects. From reactions to earlier proposals of the same sort I am
getting the impression that this is not unlikely to work out well,
but I would need to have the wiki set up, the domain name decided
etcetera to actually be able to get started. If someone is both
willing and able to do so, then I would be delighted.
Please help us in testing the latest version of MediaWiki, the software
which runs Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikiquote and all other Wikimedia
The development version can be tested at:
You can report bugs directly on the test-wiki.
Important user-visible changes are:
- new MonoBook skin, which will probably become the new default skin (can
also be tested on http://wiki.aulinx.de)
- edit conflict merging
- category system: add [[Category:Xyz]] to an article to categorize it
- links and formatting in image captions
- MediaWiki namespace separated into MediaWiki: (for software messages)
and Template: (for custom blocks), new simplified syntax, arbitrary
- links in edit summaries, auto-summaries shown in gray color instead of
- support for hieroglyphs (WikiHiero)
- reorg'd user prefs (not completed yet)
- (almost) valid xhtml
- lots of other stuff
Please pass this announcement on to people on your wiki.