Among the most interesting sessions that I sat in on, at the FUDcon Fedora user/developer conference, which wrapped up earlier this week, was a discussion on trademarks.
Trademarks and open source have an interesting and often confusing relationship. The whole point of open source is freedom of code and usage. Yet there is still a need (for some), to protect their names and ultimately their brands as well.
The session was led by Red Hat attorney Pam Chestek (pic top left), though much of the actual discussion came from the session attendees.
Not surprisingly open source developers and users are passionate about licensing issues.
“The only question to be answered in trademark law, most of the time is – is there a likelihood of confusion,” Chestek said. “It’s an exercise in theorizing what’s happening with consumers…it all boils down to, will someone be confused about what they are getting.”