Drummond Reed drummond.reed at
Thu Mar 2 00:50:01 UTC 2006


IMNAL either, however, I unfortunately have too many years of experience
with this one. While it's great to have a mark, I strongly caution against
using the *name of the protocol* as a mark. A few examples of the problems
it creates:

1) If you ever want to move it into a standards body (IETF, OASIS), the name
of the protocol can't be trademarked.

2) Users and documenters of the protocol don't want to have to use a TM each
time they reference the protocol.

3) Press articles will have to reference the name as the trademark of...who?

So what you really want is not to trademark the name of the protocol, but to
create a mark (a logo and/or bug) that is *associated with* the name of the
protocol. Typically this is used on the website/wiki of the protocol
creators/maintainers/supporters, and may even be a certification mark (or
have variants that represent certification marks) for conformance.

The logo/bug may USE the generic protocol name, but it should be highly
distinctive otherwise -- that's what makes it trademarkable (and memorable).

You'll notice that's why "i-names" is always spelled lower case (in running
text). The term is intentionally generic, like "e-mail" or "fax". There will
be an i-name logo and bug for indicating conformance and service standards
as I describe above, but it doesn't in any way restrict use of the term

XRI is also completely generic. Like YADIS, it only appears in caps because
it's an acronym. But for broad adoption, IMHO that's the approach any
protocol must take (TCP/IP, SMTP, HTTP...YADIS ;-)

=Drummond (  

-----Original Message-----
From: yadis-bounces at [mailto:yadis-bounces at]
On Behalf Of Johannes Ernst
Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 4:15 PM
To: YADIS List
Subject: trademark

At some point in the future, it is conceivable that we'd like to have  
an official Yadis conformance test suite and external conformance  
test organization (like many standards organizations have). About the  
only leverage such a process would have is that it would grant (or  
deny) implementors the use of the protocol name, in our case -- for  
better or worse -- Yadis.

In order to do that, one needs to invoke trademark law I believe ...  
and for doing so, we (i.e. the community) would have to
1) start indicating to the world that we consider Yadis to be a  
trademark and not a generic term, i.e. write YadisTM in many places,  
e.g. the front page of the wiki, and preferably
2) have a registration of Yadis on file at the trademark office.
Both of these should be possible because so far, nobody has used  
Yadis as a generic term and it clearly stands for the protocol we've  
been defining in this community.

[Now I'm not a lawyer, have no desire to become one, and so I may be  
wrong, but I don't think so.]

How do people feel about this?

Johannes Ernst
NetMesh Inc.

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