feedback request: mozilla redistribution and trademarks

Bart Decrem bart at
Fri, 26 Sep 2003 17:02:22 -0700

Hi folks,

I'm working on trademark policies and of course one of the biggest 
issues is how to manage our trademarks (the lizard icon and the Mozilla 
name) with redistribution of our software.  The MPL of course lets 
people redistribute our products all they we do have trademarks and an 
obligation to protect them, lest we lose them because of our failure to 
enforce them.

I would like input from people on this list on the appropriate policy 
for Mozilla.  Over the next few weeks, I'd like to make a proposal to 
the staff, and then Mitchell will have to give final approval to 
whatever comes out of that.  So this is the beginning of the process.

Again, all of the provisions below are about the use of the Mozilla name 
for promoting or describing software, not redistribution of the software 

Basically, I'm thinking we need to balance out protecting our marks with 
the culture and sense of community of open source.  Therefore, I'm 
thinking of proposing something like this:
1- If you are redistributing unmodified versions or versions with "minor 
modifications" of recent stable releases of Mozilla, you can use the 
Mozilla name without requiring our approval. This includes CD, online 
and any other form of distribution.  You can advertise that you're 
shipping or selling Mozilla.  So, for instance, the 
folks would be entitled to market the product they sell as Mozilla 1.4;
2- Minor modifications: This includes things like: changing the start 
page and bookmarks, changing themes, adding extensions (for Moz Firebird 
and Thunderbird), adding plugins, pre-installing the software on CDs or 
computers, and translating or localizing the software, and making minor 
bug fixes (but bug fixes must be provided upstream).  I know this is 
pretty fluid, but it's probably hard to define minor modifications with 
greater precision;
3- Advance written permission is required if the software is modified in 
other ways;
4- Permission can be withdrawn, if, after receiving notice, a 
distributor fails to make best efforts to address our concerns about 
shipping a recent product and ensuring that the product is of high 
quality.  So if you're shipping old versions of software and we put you 
on notice, you have to fix that or lose trademark permission.  If you've 
made some minor changes or localization work that degrades the quality 
of the product, and we put you on notice, you have to fix that or lose 
trademark permission.  Permission can also be withdrawn if use of the 
mark would be detrimental to the Mozilla mark in any other way (so if 
the KKK wants to distribute the KKK Mozilla browser, we would object to 
their use of our trademark on the cover of the CD and in their marketing 
5- Modifying our name is not permitted without advance written 
permission.  So if you want to call a product Moz 1.4 or MozillaPL, you 
need advance written permission.  We would probably try and accommodate 
community efforts, such as the localization efforts, and allow them to 
use slightly modified version of the Mozilla name.  In the case of Moz 
1.4, if that product is the same as Mozilla 1.4, we'd probably not allow 
them to name it Moz 1.4 since that will confuse people.  They can call 
the product some other name though, if they want, or they can call it 
Mozilla 1.4;
6- Use of the word Mozilla or related names (such as Moz) for company 
names, project names and web site domain names  would always require 
permission.  We would probably not allow commercial ventures to use the 
name Mozilla (so the domain name would have to be 
changed).  We would allow community efforts, such as projects on Mozdev 
and localization projects to include the name Mozilla or Moz in the 
project name or web site address as long as such use doesn't create some 
specific problem for us.  So,, etc are OK;
7- We would of course try and stop clear infringements such as the name 
of the Stopzilla utility for IE, which clearly creates consumer confusion;
8- The t-rex icon is ours.  You must get our permission before using 
it.  Community efforts will receive such permission, commercial efforts 
may not be able to use this artwork.

Of course, the proposal is not a conceptual proposal, so the wording 
would change. 

Note that this proposal is a lot more liberal than for instance Red Hat, 
which doesn't allow CD vendors to market their product as Red Hat Linux, 
even if the software is unmodified.  I think that makes sense since we 
are a non-profit effort and are eager to achieve broad adoption.