Difference between revisions of "DeveloperWiki:TrademarkPolicy"

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=Trademark Policy=
=Trademark Policy=

Revision as of 16:22, 15 May 2008

This article is part of the DeveloperWiki.

Trademark Policy

The objective of the Arch Linux trademark policy is to encourage widespread use of the Arch Linux trademarks by the Arch Linux community while controlling that use in order to avoid confusion on the part of Arch Linux users and the general public, to maintain the value of the image and reputation of the trademarks and to protect them from inappropriate or unauthorised use.

The sections below describe what is allowed, what isn't allowed, and cases in which you should ask permission. If you have any doubt, please contact us at trademarks@archlinux.org.

The Trademarks

Judd Vinet and Aaron Griffin, on behalf of Arch Linux, own a number of trademarks including ARCHLINUX, ARCH LINUX and the stylized Arch Linux logo. The trademarks are recognized in both word and logo form. Any mark beginning with the letters ARCH is sufficiently similar to one or more of the trademarks that permission will be needed in order to use it. This policy encompasses all marks, in word and logo form, collectively referred to as "Trademarks".

Permitted Use

Certain usages of the Trademarks are fine and no specific permission from us is needed.

Community Advocacy. Arch Linux is built by, and largely for, its community. We share access to the Trademarks with the entire community for the purposes of discussion, development and advocacy. We recognise that most of the open source discussion and development areas are for non-commercial purposes and will allow the use of the trademarks in this context, provided:

  • the Trademark is used in a manner consistent with the Usage Guidelines below
  • there is no commercial intent behind the use
  • what you are referring to is in fact Arch Linux. If someone is confused into thinking that what isn't Arch Linux is in fact Arch Linux, you are probably doing something wrong.
  • there is no suggestion (through words or appearance) that your project is approved, sponsored, or affiliated with Arch Linux or its related projects unless it actually has been approved by and is accountable to the Arch Linux Chief Coordinator

Derived works. The ability to customise Arch Linux to meet your specific needs is one of the great strengths of free software in general, and Arch Linux in particular. While we encourage customisation and derivation of Arch Linux, we must balance that freedom with the integrity of the Trademarks and the quality which they represent. To help reach that balance, we have established the following guidelines and definitions.

We recognise and encourage the concept of a "remix." Remixes are derived versions of Arch Linux, and it is intended that any software and hardware certifications will apply to a Remix. Therefore the changes from official Arch Linux products must be minimal to be permitted to use the Trademarks. These changes can include configuration changes through the existing Arch Linux configuration management tools, changes to artwork and graphical themes and some variance in package selection. In general, a Remix can have applications from the Arch Linux archives added, or default applications removed, but removing or changing any infrastructure components (e.g., shared libraries or desktop components) will result in changes too large for the resulting product to be called by a Trademark. Note that if the nature of the product's divergence from Arch Linux changes, the Remix naming and Trademark use may no longer apply.

Therefore, if you are creating a derivative of Arch Linux, you may use the Trademarks in association with the software product provided:

  • the changes are minimal and unsubstantial, as described above
  • there is no commercial intent associated with the new product
  • the Trademark is used in a way that makes it clear that your project is a development effort related to the Arch Linux source, but that the software you are working upon is not in fact Arch Linux as distributed by the Arch Linux project. The approved naming scheme to facilitate this is through designation "Remix". For instance, a new ISO image which has been packaged special tools for software developers could be called "Arch Linux, Developers Remix", or an image was has been created with Thai language packs could be called "Arch Linux Thai Remix". Words such as "Edition" and "Version" should be avoided, as they have specific meaning within the Arch Linux project. Prefixes, such as "ThaiArch" should also be avoided. Any other naming scheme will require explicit permission.
  • there is no suggestion (through words or appearance) that your project is approved, sponsored, or affiliated with Arch Linux or its related projects unless it has been approved by and is governed by the Arch Linux Chief Coordinator.

If you are producing a new product which is based on Arch Linux but which has more substantial changes than those described above as a Remix, you are allowed to state (and we would encourage you to do so) that your product is "derived from Arch Linux", "based on Arch Linux", or "a derivative of Arch Linux" but you may not use the Trademarks to refer to your product. In some cases you may be allowed to use the Trademarks, but we'll need to discuss that. In that event, these products will need a trademark license, and such a license can be revoked if the nature of your divergence from Arch Linux changes. Products which include very invasive changes, such as a new kernel, the inclusion of packages which are not part of the Arch Linux repositories, or anything else that significantly impacts the technical quality or user experience would fall into this category are unlikely to be approved. (Note that if you are including packages which are not part of the Arch Linux repositories, we encourage you to work within the community processes, such as the Arch User Repository (AUR) to submit and maintain those packages within the community repositories in order to minimise this issue.)

Building on Arch Linux or for Arch Linux. If you are producing new software which is intended for use with or on Arch Linux, you may use the trademark in a way which indicates the intent of your product. For example, if you are developing a system management tool for Arch Linux, acceptable project titles would be "System Management for Arch Linux" or "Arch Linux Based Systems Management". We would strongly discourage, and likely would consider to be problematic, a name such as ArchMan, Arch Management, ArchTools, etc. Furthermore, you may not use the Trademarks in a way which implies an endorsement where that doesn't exist, or which attempts to unfairly or confusingly capitalise on the goodwill or brand of the project.

Commentary and parody. The Arch Linux trademarks are designed to cover use of a mark to imply origin or endorsement by the project. When a user downloads something called Arch Linux, they should know it comes from the Arch Linux project. This helps Arch Linux build a reputation that will not be damaged by confusion around what is, and isn't, Arch Linux. Using the trademarks in your discussion, commentary, criticism or parody, in ways that unequivocally do not imply endorsement, is permissible. Anyone is free to write articles, create websites, blog about, or talk about Arch Linux -- as long as it's clear to everyone -- including people completely unfamiliar with Arch Linux -- that they are simply referring to Arch Linux and in no way speaking for the Arch Linux project.

We reserve the right to review all usage within the open source community, and to object to any usage that appears to overstep the bounds of discussion and good-faith non-commercial development. In any event, once a project has left the open source project phase or otherwise become a commercial project, this policy does not authorize any use of the Trademarks in connection to that project.

Restricted use that requires a trademark license

Permission from us is necessary to use any of the Trademarks under any circumstances other than those specifically permitted above. These include:

  • Any commercial use
  • Use on or in relation to a software product that includes or is built on top of a product supplied by us, if there is any commercial intent associated with that product.
  • Use in a domain name or URL.
  • Use for merchandising purposes, e.g. on t-shirts and the like.
  • Use of a name which includes the letters ARCH in relation to computer hardware or software.
  • Services relating to any of the above.

If you wish to have permission for any of the uses above or for any other use which is not specifically referred to in this policy, please email us at trademarks AT archlinux DOT org and we'll let you know as soon as possible if your proposed use is permissible. Note that due to the volume of mail we receive, it may take up to a week to process your request. Permission may only be granted subject to certain conditions and these may include the requirement that you enter into an agreement with us to maintain the quality of the product and/or service which you intend to supply at a prescribed level.

While there may be exceptions, it is very unlikely that we will approve Trademark use in the following cases:

  • Use of a Trademark in a company name.
  • Use of a Trademark in a domain name which has a commercial intent. The commercial intent can range from promotion of a company or product, to collecting revenue generated by advertising.
  • The calling of any software or product by the name Arch Linux (or another related Trademark), unless that software or product is a substantially unmodified Arch Linux product, or properly labelled as a "Remix" as described above.
  • Use in combination with any other marks or logos. This include use of a Trademark in a manner that creates a "combined mark," or use that integrates other wording with the Trademark in a way that the public may think of the use as a new mark (for example Club Arch Linux or ArchBooks, or in a way that by use of special fonts or presentation with nearby words or images conveys an impression that the two are tied in some way).
  • Use in combination with any product or service which is presented as being Certified or Official or formally associated with us or our products or services.
  • Use in a way which implies an endorsement where that doesn't exist, or which attempts to unfairly or confusingly capitalise on the goodwill or brand of the project.
  • Use of a Trademark in a manner that disparages Arch Linux and is not clearly third-party parody.
  • On or in relation to a software product which constitutes a substantially modified version of a product supplied by the Arch Linux project, that is to say with material changes to the code, or services relating to such a product.
  • In a title or metatag of a web page whose sole intention or result is to influence search engine rankings or result listings, rather than for discussion, development or advocacy of the Trademarks.

Logo Usage Guidelines

Our logos are presented in multiple colours and it is important that their visual integrity be maintained. It is therefore preferable that the logos only be used in their standard form but if you should feel the need to alter them in any way you should keep the following guidelines in mind. It should also be borne in mind that the more you wish to vary our logos from their standard form the smaller is the chance that we will be able to approve your proposed use.

  • If presented in multiple colours, the logo should only use the "official" logo colours.
  • You may use transparency and gradient/depth tools but should retain the "official" colours.
  • A monochrome version may be acceptable in certain situations, if the use requires it (e.g. desktop backgrounds).
  • Any scaling must retain the original proportions of the logo.


This draft trademark policy is itself published under the CC-BY-SA license by the Ubuntu project, you are welcome to base your own project trademark policies off it, just let others use your changes and give credit to the Ubuntu project as the original source!