Another “victims” of the hunt:
This title sounds like GitHub is preventing it when it’s just Docker lawyers sending boringly common requests to avoid names that are confusingly similar to their trademark and unauthorized use of their name/logos.
I was asked in the chat room to elaborate on why I think this is a non-story, so here’s a quick reformatting:
Docker Inc owns a trademark for software named “docker” and doesn’t want random coders to name random projects “docker” (the next-to-last example in the story) because that’s confusing to anyone who runs into it when looking for the real docker. So a lawyer sends a “hey, please stop using our trademark for your project” note, which probably uses the legal terms “cease and desist” which mean “we’re formally asking you to stop it”.
There’s also projects related to docker using their name/logo (for example docker-charm) and the lawyer is asking “Hey, please do X/Y/Z to make it explicit to the public that you’re not officially affiliated with us”. That can mean removing logos, adding disclaimers, and sometimes renaming entirely depending on what the project is doing and how paranoid the lawyer is. I specifically noticed in the docker-charm issue that the lawyer only asked that they remove the logo, not that they rename the entire projects. That’s pretty chill of Docker to recognize that someone seeing “docker-charm” will understand that this project integrates docker and charm, rather than sending “omg you can’t even say our name in your name” which a lot of laywers do.
So I really think this is nothing. Docker is being polite, restrained, and using issues to fit into projects' standard workflows. GitHub surfers won’t run into projects and be unsure if they’re seeing an official docker project or not. This looks like a model story of trademark protection to me.
It’s also worth noting that the letter says “as the first part of a repo name” (emphasis mine). So, a repo named “docker-existdb” is unacceptable to the Docker, Inc folks, but “existdb-docker” or “existdb-on-docker” might be fine.
As far as I’m concerned, this is kinda eye-roll-y but perfectly within my Realm of Acceptable Behavior by an Institution.
Sure, but Github will enforce the request
It’s never gotten that far.
DMCA is for copyright, not trademarks.
This is a non-story. This is normal, polite trademark enforcement.
As far as I understand this would only apply if I reuse Docker’s logo or other artwork for my own project.
odd, we have a ton of gh repos w/ docker in the name at my job
Private repos? That’s not a trademark problem.
A repo name in and of itself is not used as a trademark, so it’s not subject to trademark infringement. If the name of a repo also happened to be used like a trademark, that use would be subject to trademark enforcement.
What exactly are you arguing?
If I call my project “microsoft windows” then I am using Microsoft’s trademark. I could call it “microsoft-windows” or “sʍopuıʍ-ʇɟosoɹɔıɯ”, and it would still be using Microsoft’s trademark, something they have registered and have an almost exclusive right granted to dictate use.
If, hypothetically, I have the URL “hxxp://github.com/geocar/microsoft-windows” and in big friendly letters at the top I say something like:
then, if you are persuasive, you might be able to argue that use is protected, because in AMF, Inc v. Sleekcraft Boats, 599 F.2d 341 (C.A.9) 1979, the Ninth Circuit Court announced eight specific elements to measure likelihood of confusion, one of which was the intent in selecting the mark. See also the DuPont factors.
This is, of course, a very specific limitation. I don’t think that is being argued here, and I can imagine no other software use of “microsoft windows” that would not be trademark infringement. To that end, I’d be very curious to know what exactly you are thinking.
I am arguing that if I say, “Here is my Docker X product” then there is probably a trademark infringement, but if I say, “Here is the URL to my repository, http://gitblab.org/patrick/docker_x” then there is no trademark infringement because I am not using that as a trademark, I am not selling or promoting anything using that mark, etc.
A judge will not agree with you.
Trademark infringement does not require you promote or sell anything using someone else’s mark, it only requires that you use it in a way that could confuse people about your connection with the trademark holder. All Docker has to argue is that people might get confused that your software is somehow connected with their mark and they win; the bar is very low for them, and very high for you.