Groupon and GNOME trademark brouhaha

What do we think, people?

http://gnome.org/groupon/

I support GNOME and want them to continue to be uniquely identified by their mark, but I have some thoughts:

  • Is this even a trademark dispute, and in which territories? The use of the term ‘GNOME’ on the Groupon thing looks really quite different to the GNOME trademark.
  • I don’t know to what extend GNOME have trademarked their mark. Does anyone know?
  • Groupon has not aggressively tried to attack GNOME regarding the use of a mark. This seems more about GNOME defending it’s own mark.

Thoughts?

Just saw that, let’s see if we can get additional data.

In the Website GNOME set up, they say

Groupon’s product is a tablet based point of sale “operating system for merchants to run their entire operation."

I guess this is close enough to what GNOME is for most people (Desktop Environment, Operating System, 's all the same ain’t it?), and this is where Groupon can attack them to get the rights on this GNOME name.

According to gnome.org:

The GNOME trademarks are:
The word GNOME™
The GNOME foot logo

I think it is quite clear that what Groupon is trying to set up is too much in the same domain as Gnome as to not be afflicted by their trademark.

I am not sure how they could, as their trademark filings aren’t accepted yet. And obviously they weren’t responsive/cooperative when Gnome got in touch.

Just an interesting side thing here. I did a “groupon gnome” search in both Duckduckgo and Google. In Google, the trademark issue was the second result, right after the news box which also had the issue listed, whereas, in Duckduckgo the trademark issue was the seventh result listing. It was not the way I was anticipating these results would go.

whatever Google does, they don’t manually rank search results. in this case, maybe their algorithm emphasises more recent results more?

I would imagine that would be the case.

Groupon seem to have done the right thing now.

UPDATE: After additional conversations with the open source
community and the Gnome Foundation, we have decided to abandon our
pending trademark applications for “Gnome.” We will choose a new name
for our product going forward.

maybe the whole thing was just a ploy by the Gnome foundation to raise money (i think they got about 70000$).

but seriously, that seems to be a good example for a concerted effort by the community.

Groupon are obviously cognizant of the feedback of the Open Source community. For them to change the name of a product is a big deal for them, and they could have quite easily told GNOME to go screw themselves.

This tells me that:

  1. The GNOME trademarks have some value, but what is more important to Groupon is the PR backlash.
  2. Someone at Groupon got fired over this (likely a legal rep saw the trademark, flagged it as a concern, and a senior legal person said “naa, don’t worry, let’s proceed”. I hope senior guy gets the can, not the subordinate.
1 Like

Maybe, but also Gnome did have the trade mark and was basically publicly collecting but also showing they had the money to enforce the trademark. It suddenly appeared very very likely Groupon would loose so changing now is a reflection on that too. Why drag out this bad PR situation when it has such a minuscule chance of winning as well. In the face of loosing, better to be responsive and try to regain a little PR and more importantly stop bleeding it :smile:

I would love to hear follow up on that. Maybe we should start linkedin creeping people at Groupon :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, not necessarily. Just because you were first doesn’t always matter. In trademark law you have to demonstrate you are protecting the mark, which can be a struggle for Open Source projects who are very open about mark usage.

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.