In 2009, a set of trademark guidelines were created to help define how the community and beyond could use the openSUSE logo and related trademarks in their own products and services. Along with this, Novell granted powers to the openSUSE Board to be the guardians of the openSUSE trademarks. This included ensuring that proper usage followed the guidelines as well as giving the Board the ability to review special use cases
It also helped those who wanted written permission from the Board authorizing the use of trademarks on their products and services. Formal requests for such permissions were sent to email@example.com, and Novell would forward the request to the Board for review.
As you know, trademark protection is important because it represents the identity of an organization. Trademark usage also provides an important tool for the community that wishes to promote openSUSE. The use of the trademarks makes it easier to share and spread openSUSE works. Of course, regulating the appropriate usage of the trademarks is also a necessary evil to prevent abuse.
As with anything in life, time gives perspective. There has been sufficient time since the implementation of the first guidelines to observe real use cases where the guidelines were either effective or ineffective. And for the Board, this includes identifying a more responsive workflow to addressing requests for authorization of usage, as we, and others, recognize the current process as being perfectible.
The Board, along with others in the community, would like to begin a review of the current state of our trademark guidelines and identify where it can be strengthened and be more effective. To this end, our first step is to open an openFATE Feature request for comments. We invite the community and beyond to review the current guidelines and offer their input on language and past use case experiences.
While we would like comments submitted on openFATE, if you prefer, you can post your comments here or send your thoughts directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. A specific timeline for completion of this process has not been determined yet, but it is the intention of the Board to move forward on this topic in order to help the community at large move forward on their own projects.