GNOME is a name synonymous with open-source software, but if the billion-dollar company Groupon has its way it could soon mean something different.
Groupon, famed for its ‘deal-of-the-day’ website, recently unveiled a “tablet-based platform“ called ‘GNOME’, and has filed requisite trademark filings — 10 so far — seeking ownership of the name.
Naturally, this has the GNOME Foundation ‘concerned’. GNOME is a registered trademark of the foundation, and has been since 2006. This mark was issued under a number of sections, including ‘operating system’ – which the Chicago-based Groupon is also claiming against.
Could it just be that they’ve never heard of GNOME before? Highly unlikely.
Even the most Saul Goodman-y of lawyers would first check existing trademarks and investigate the company(s) owning or contesting. Even assuming that lapse in professionalism, most would have at least given the name a quick Google. Damningly, the company has previously claimed to be ‘fuelled by open-source’.
Groupon clearly knows of GNOME, knows what it does, what it stands for and how long it’s been around yet considers itself better placed to “own” the name for its brand of hokey in-store point-of-sale terminals.
Campaign to Protect GNOME
Ask not what GNOME can do for you, but what you can do for GNOME. This morning the GNOME Foundation launched a campaign to raise (an estimated) US$80,000 to battle the first found of marks Groupon has applied to register.
“We must not let a billion-dollar-company take the well-established name of one of the biggest Free Software communities,” says Tobias Mueller, a GNOME Foundation director.
“If you want to help GNOME defend its trademark and promote Free Software, visit the campaign’s page, share the link, and let Groupon know that they behaved terribly”.
Lucas Nussbaum, Debian Project Leader, sums the whole situation up succinctly:
“This legal defense is not just about protecting GNOME’s trademark; it is about asserting to the corporate world that FLOSS trademarks can and will be guarded. Not just by the project in question, but by the community as a whole. As a result, all FLOSS trademarks will be strengthened at once.”
More details can be found on the GNOME Groupon Campaign page.