This is a draft of a new TM policy. IT IS NOT A POLICY. For the official GNOME trademark policy, visit http://foundation.gnome.org/licensing/index.html
comments/questions in bold-italic
GNOME loves it when people talk about GNOME, brag about their participation in GNOME, and build products and businesses around GNOME technologies. At the same time, as stewards of the mark, the GNOME Foundation is required to protect the GNOME trademark so that it remains a symbol with specific meaning in the minds of the public. The objective of this document - the GNOME trademark policy - is to encourage widespread use of the GNOME trademarks by the GNOME community, while controlling that use in order to avoid confusion on the part of GNOME users and the general public, to maintain the value of the image and reputation of the trademarks, and to protect them from inappropriate or unauthorized use.
The sections below describe what uses are permitted, what isn't permitted, and cases in which you should ask permission.
If you have any doubts or questions about the policy, please contact us and a member of our trademark team will be in touch with you shortly.
If you are aware a breach of this policy, or any other misuse of the GNOME trademarks, please contact us so that we can investigate further.
The GNOME Foundation has registered both the GNOME word mark and the GNOME foot, and may register other related marks in the future. This policy encompasses all the marks, in word and logo form, collectively referred to as “Trademarks” or "the marks".
The registration of the Trademarks gives the GNOME Foundation the exclusive right to use the GNOME marks to identify websites, services, businesses and products. In turn, this policy outlines the conditions under which members of the community are given or can get permission to use the marks from the Foundation on behalf of the broader community.
Certain usages of the Trademarks are permitted (even encouraged!) and no specific permission is needed.
GNOME is built by, and largely for, its community, and as a result the Foundation, as the official representative of the community, makes the Trademarks available for non-commercial discussion, development and advocacy. Examples of this type of use include the creation of desktop backgrounds featuring the Trademarks, web badges saying 'I'm part of GNOME', etc. Use of the Trademarks in this way is allowed as long as:
- there is no suggestion, through words or appearance, that the use is approved, sponsored, or affiliated with GNOME or the GNOME Foundation, unless it actually has been approved by and is accountable to the GNOME Foundation or its delegates. A simple disclaimer on your home page is an excellent way of making this clear.
- the use in fact refers to GNOME. If the use of the mark might cause someone to be confused between what is and isn't GNOME, the use is probably wrong.
the Trademark is used in a manner consistent with the BrandGuidelines. the Brand Guidelines need to be polished, and must also include a section on usage of the word mark, possibly from http://foundation.gnome.org/licensing/guidelines/ and maybe a section on the special case of backgrounds?
- it is not used in commerce. For discussion of non-profit sales (for example, t-shirts or liveCDs at conferences) see below under 'User Groups'; more generally, if in doubt about whether or not your use is 'in commerce', please contact us.
The ability to customize to meet your specific needs is one of the great strengths of Free Software in general, and GNOME in particular. While we encourage customization and redistribution of GNOME, we are also required to protect the standards of quality traditionally associated with the Trademarks. To ensure that users get the kind of software they have come to expect when they see the Trademarks, we have established the following guidelines and definitions:
Operating System Distributions
I've failed to find any substantial situations where people distribute the Desktop but aren't OSes, so my sense is that this is pretty broad in practice. We recognize and encourage the distribution of GNOME as a component of a complete computer operating system. Most users experience GNOME in this way, and expect that such distributors may make minor modifications to GNOME for the purposes of integration or compatibility with the underlying operating system. However, permission to use the Trademarks in this way can only be granted if the version of GNOME distributed with the operating system is substantially the same as the official upstream versions of GNOME's software.
Therefore, if you are distributing GNOME as part of an operating system, you may use the Trademarks in association with the operating system provided:
- the vast majority of the software source code is identical to the upstream software.
- no deliberate programming or binary interface (API/ABI) incompatibilities are introduced.
- the operating system is primarily available through non-commercial channels. Commercial distributions of operating systems should see the section on 'Commercial Distribution' below.
- there is no suggestion (through words or appearance) that your project is approved, sponsored, or affiliated with GNOME or its related projects unless it has been approved by and is governed by the GNOME Foundation or delegates of the Foundation.
Note that if the nature of the product's divergence from GNOME changes, the permission to use the Trademarks may no longer apply.
Products which include very invasive changes, such as binary incompatibility, significant user interface changes, or anything else that significantly impacts the technical quality or user experience would fall into this category are unlikely to be approved. The community encourages distributors to work within community development processes to submit and maintain changes in order to minimize this problem.
If you are producing a new product which uses GNOME but which has more substantial changes than those described above, you are allowed to state (and we would encourage you to do so) that your product is "derived from GNOME", "based on GNOME", or "a derivative of GNOME". Use of the mark without such qualifications will need a trademark license, and such a license can be revoked if the nature of your divergence from GNOME changes.
Building Applications on GNOME libraries or for use with the GNOME Desktop
If you are producing new software which is based on GNOME libraries or intended for use with the GNOME Desktop, you can use the Trademark in a way which indicates the intent of your product. For example, if you are developing a system management tool for GNOME, acceptable project titles would be "System Management for GNOME Desktop" or "GNOME-Based Systems Management". We would strongly discourage, and likely would consider to be problematic, a name such as GNOMEMan, GNOME Management, gManagement, etc. Furthermore, you may not use the Trademarks in a way which implies an endorsement where that doesn't exist, or which attempts to unfairly or confusingly capitalize on the goodwill or brand of the project.
Note that as currently written this would effectively be a change of policy and many (most?) pieces of GNOME software would fall afoul of it.
Commentary and Parody
The GNOME trademarks are designed to cover use of a mark to imply origin or endorsement by the project. When a user downloads something called GNOME, they should know it comes from the GNOME project. This helps GNOME build a reputation that will not be damaged by confusion around what is, and isn't, GNOME. Using the trademarks to write articles, create websites, blog about, or talk about GNOME is permissible -- as long as it's clear to everyone -- including people completely unfamiliar with GNOME -- that these things are simply referring to GNOME and in no way speaking for GNOME or the GNOME Foundation.
General Limitations on This Permission
We reserve the right to review all usage within the open source community, and to object to any usage that appears to overstep the bounds of good-faith discussion and good-faith non-commercial development, or that may confuse users. In any event, once a project has left the open source project phase or otherwise become a commercial project, this policy does not authorize any use of the Trademarks in connection to that project.
Uses That Require Permission
Permission from the Foundation is necessary to use any of the Trademarks under any circumstances other than those specifically permitted above. These include:
- Any use in commerce.
- Use on or in relation to a software product that includes or is built on top of a product supplied by us, if there is any commercial intent associated with that product.
- Use in a domain name or URL.
- Use for merchandising purposes, e.g. on t-shirts and the like.
- Services relating to any of the above.
If you'd like permission for any of the uses above or for any other use which is not specifically referred to in this policy, please contact us. We don't have strong objections to the use of the mark, but we have to review the proposed use and make sure that it is not confusing to consumers. If the Foundation grants permission, you may be required to enter into an agreement with us to confirm that our mark is valid, to ensure that consumers are not confused, and to define and maintain the quality of the product and/or service which you intend to supply.
Community members frequently seek and receive permission for uses of the Trademarks that fall into one of the previous categories and therefore require permission. Past examples have included the use of 'gnome' in a domain name like gnome-nl.sf.net, or sales of t-shirts or LiveCDs at cost at a local conference. The Foundation will typically permit such uses as long as steps are taken to ensure that GNOME's reputation is maintained, but the group must contact the Foundation and get explicit permission before using the marks. User groups or developers who will need repeated permission to use the marks may sign and obtain a more formal agreement granting such permissions.
hell if I know what to put here, but I'd like to commit us to remaining sane as a gesture of good faith to our partners.