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

John C Klensin <> Fri, 04 April 2014 19:47 UTC

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Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2014 15:45:52 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Ray Pelletier <>, Dave Crocker <>
Subject: Re: Community Input Requested on Trustees' Intent to Renounce "IETF Secretariat" Trademark
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--On Friday, April 04, 2014 14:19 -0400 Ray Pelletier
<> wrote:

>> It sounds as if this will open the door to my being able to
>> advertise myself as the IETF Secretariat.  Or even the ITU's
>> being able to.  Yes?
> You could certainly use "Secretariat" but you cannot use
> "IETF Secretariat" without violating the "IETF"
> trademark.

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?

Now, whether having a trademark registered as "IETF Secretariat"
with whatever line of business the IETF and IETF Secretariat
claim to be in would offer significant protection against that
attack is far outside my knowledge or experience.

I have enough trouble imagining someone going to the trouble to
attempt the above as an attack that I think it would probably be
foolish to worry about it, but it is, in principle, the
difference between "no risk" and "no risk worth worrying about".