[Foundation-l] Wikimedia/Wikipedia trademarks?

Michael Bimmler mbimmler at gmail.com
Tue Dec 18 13:52:21 UTC 2007

On Dec 18, 2007 2:36 PM, Platonides <Platonides at gmail.com> wrote:
> Nathan Awrich wrote:
> > Sure, my fault for not being clear and perhaps not understanding fully
> > the structure of the relationships involved. Maybe it would be more
> > clear to say
> >

(Note, I'm not replying officially or from a lawyer perspective, just
from a chapters perspective. Take everything I say here with caution

> > 1. What special rights do Wikimedia chapters get regarding the
> > trademarks of the US Wikimedia Foundation?'
> >

Depends on the agreement they have with the foundation. AFAIK it
ranges from "can just use it themselves" via "can use it and license
it for non-commercial use"can use it and license it for commercial
use". I guess this would be standardises some day...

> > 2. Is the use of WMF marks by WMF local chapters governed by
> > indemnification agreements?
> >

I'm not sure what you mean by "indemnification agreements". The
agreement basically provide that the TMs can be used without

> > 3. Is the extent of WMF exposure to the various state speech and
> > publication laws known in areas outside of the US and Europe, and do
> > we actively try to adhere to local standards when we know them? (I'm
> > reminded of Yahoo and China here).
> >

Interesting question... There are btw speech and publication laws in
Europe too, refer e.g. to the denial of genocides, which is punishable
in Switzerland (and, more limitedly, the denial of holocaust which is
punishable in Germany).

> > 4. How effective is OTRS at policing legal issues in languages with few members?
> >

I doubt that there are statistics on that, however for *most
languages*, it should be possible to find a trusted user such as a
bureaucrat who can deal with the matter.

> > 5. Has WMF had any trademark infringement/misuse issues so far?
> >

This question probably goes to Mike Godwin, Legal Counsel WMF.

> > 6. If the marks of the WMF are registered to the WMF to the extent
> > possible, is there a mechanism for revoking license to those marks if
> > a Wikimedia chapter violates the spirit of WMF?

As the TM use is regulated in an agreement, the WMF can just terminate
the agreement, whereupon the chapter loses its rights to use the
Trademarks (if the trademarks in this country are registered to the

> I'd add, how are presumed trademark infringements handled?

By the Legal Counsel, WMF, I guess.

> I found weeks ago a paper advertisement on which the character was
> browsing wikipedia (identifiable by the logo).
> IMHO they'd need WMF permission to do so but maybe they have! How could
> i know? There must be a better way than snail mail to the US (suggested
> by cary).

Try contacting Mike Godwin by email: mgodwin at wikimedia dot org
It is usually the fastest way.


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