Re: Community Input Requested on Trustees' Intent to Renounce "IETF Secretariat" Trademark

"John Levine" <johnl@taugh.com> Fri, 04 April 2014 20:19 UTC

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Date: 4 Apr 2014 20:18:53 -0000
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From: "John Levine" <johnl@taugh.com>
To: ietf@ietf.org
Subject: Re: Community Input Requested on Trustees' Intent to Renounce "IETF Secretariat" Trademark
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>Ray, I assume that if Dave (or someone else) set themselves up
>as the International Elegant Tophat Fabrication Society, made at
>least a perfunctory effect to establish themselves as being in
>that business, established a business unit that they called
>their "Secretariat", and then advertised the result as the "IETF
>Secretariat", things could get dicey.  Given the different line
>of business, they might even be able to take out a trademark on
>"IETF Secretariat".  Right?

Yes, and under those circumstances, it wouldn't matter whether we had
a registration or not, since trademarks are topic specific unless you
can persuade a court that your trademark is "famous".  That's why
there are live registrations for both the Ford Motor Company, and the
unrelated Ford Gum and Machine Company.

If someone other than us started passing itself as the IETF anything,
trademark registration would be only one bit of the battle.

Although I do note that on the WIPO Madrid Trademark page, we have
registrations in Australia, the EU, Korea, Norway, Russia, and
Singapore, but not in Switzerland, where the ITU is, nor China.

R's,
John