Trademarks, licenses and approach for new protocol name

Hi Everybody,

As many of you know there is a potential rebrand of the Factom protocol coming. Recently we have seen some confusion around names of products and even companies in the Factom Protocol ecosystem. I was drafting a non-formal (so outside of governance) document on how to handle these situation, but working on it made me realise we need a proper discussion fist anyway. So I want to kickoff the discussion with the assumption we will rebrand to name X

  1. Do we want to have trademark protection for brand/name X?
    1. If Yes:
      1. How are we going to do that legally as we need entities for trademarks?
      2. Do we want to do it in multiple jurisdictions? EU/US and other continents/countries?
      3. Would we entrust it to a 3rd party for instance and creating a contract with the standing parties?
    2. If No:
      1. Do we want everybody being able to use the name X in products, solutions etc?
      2. What happens if somebody uses name X for obvious reasons not in the best interest of X (spam, abuse, illegal)
      3. How are we going to protect against somebody else claiming the name(s)?
      4. How liberal are we going to be with the protocol? Are we for instance going the really liberal route and dedicate most work to the public domain? (please note that individual copyrights still can apply)
  2. Usage of the name in products, services (disregard protection/enforcement for now, that is something I want to (re)visit later):
    1. Do we want products with X in there?
    2. Do we want services with X in there?
    3. Do we want companies with X in there?

If you want to respond to an individual question you can use the numbers like 1.2.3 for instance.
Thank you for the deep consideration you have given this challenging subject.

I don't see trademark protection as something purely for centralized organizations. We as a decentralized organization require this just as much.

1.1 The only legal way to do this would seem to be via the “non-profit”.

1.2 As a global decentralized organization we would surely want trademark protection in multiple jurisdictions.

1.3 Entrusting to a third party seems like a centralization move.

2.1-2.3 I think we would want products and services with X in there. I am less sure about whether we should have companies with this except for the “non-profit”.
I also think we should enforce the trademark.

I guess we need the non-profit for that - but it is not set up right? I seem to remember @David Chapman stating something to the effect that its not feasible at the current FCT valuation. Is that correct?

If so, how do we go from here without a non-profit?

And, should we use the "TM"-symbol from day 1 with the new name? If so; the rebranding committee will have to be informed to this effect so it can be worked into the press release etc.
Funny.... I am of the opinion we should not trademark it at all and just protect everything with copyright. The one obstacle is making sure others do not trademark it, but probably dedicating it to public domain from multiple sources and anchored into the protocol does the job quite nicely.

My reason is that if we want to be this layer of trust on the internet, everybody should be free to use it. Of course you would need some netiquette for it, but ultimately let's just let it loose. Tcp/ip and https is also not trademarked as it hinders adoption fear of legal issues...
Let me preface this with saying that I am NOT in any way an authority on this subject.

Firstly although I was very pro Trademarking I’d like to give credit to Niels for encouraging us to think a bit differently about this.

As far as I understand it copyright applies to work that is recorded in some way; rights exist in items such as literary, artistic, musical and dramatic work as well as films, sound recordings and typographical arrangements. It gives the author specific rights in relation to the work, prohibits unauthorized actions, and allows the author to take legal action against instances of infringement or plagiarism.

There does seem to be an additional advantage of copyright insofar as it is an automatic international right (although there seem to be some specific considerations for US citizens). On this basis a single registration with a Copyright Service should ensure we have verifiable evidence of copyright ownership to help prove and protect our rights at a worldwide level.

A trademark can be a name, word, slogan, design, symbol or other unique device that identifies a product or organization. Trademarks are registered at a national or territory level with an appointed government body and may take anywhere between 6 and 18 months to be processed.

Registering in countries such as the US, the UK, Japan, etc will protect our mark in that country only. Within the European Union, there now exists a Community Trade Mark (CTM) which covers the mark in all EU countries. There is also the Madrid System that provides a facility to submit trademarks applications to many countries at the same time.

So given Niels comments I would not want to hinder adoption and I would like to get Factom to the point where it is the next https. Could we therefore copyright globally which may be quick to execute and keep the option to subsequently trademark? (Such trademarking if we did it could be on a priority basis by picking up the major economic areas first.)

Before taking a second step to trademark we would really need to think about the best way to ensure others do not trademark. If dedicating it to public domain from multiple sources and anchoring into the protocol does the job then we may not need to.

Sorry for the long post!