Subject: Re: SELLING support contracts
From: hecker@netscape.com (Frank Hecker)
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 22:45:30 -0400

shap@eros.cis.upenn.edu wrote:
> In message <199809151721.NAA01407@bobster.redhat.com>, Bob Young writes:
> 
> > ... I'm not sure what benefit Netscape gains by forcing people to
> > call the Netscape browser something other than a Netscape browser.

To clarify something here, in "Netscape Navigator" (the official name
for the web browser) and "Netscape Communicator" (the official name for
the browser plus mail, news, etc.) the word "Netscape" is a registered
trademark of Netscape Communications Corporation.  However to my
knowledge Netscape has never claimed that the words "Navigator" and
"Communicator" in isolation are Netscape trademarks; certainly the NPL
does not claim this.

Thus I believe there is nothing in the NPL, MPL, or anywhere else that
restricts a third party from offering a product (say) Acme Communicator
based on the Mozilla source, in competition with Netscape Communicator. 
The situation is somewhat the same as "RedHat Linux" vs. "Acme Linux". 
(Not exactly, since for one thing "Linux" is technically a trademark
now, but as I understand it that was done primarily to prevent others
from trademarking it, as was attempted by someone.)

> 1. Insulation from any liability associated with rereleases.
> 2. Ability to avoid any support costs associated with a third-party
>    distribution/modification
> 3. Protection of brand identity and quality perception in the face of
>    weak third-party quality assurance procedures.

I think an overall factor as well is that Netscape lawyers, like IP
lawyers generally, are trained to treat protection of trademarks as a
good thing.  Also, reserving trademark rights in theory allows Netscape
to charge third-parties for the right to use Netscape trademarks in
creating derivative works, though I have no idea to what extent we are
doing (or plan to do) this.

> I originally considered letting people use the EROS brand (when we
> have one) for copies that were purely verbatim redistributions.

But note that Netscape allows "verbatim" (by which I presume you mean,
"with no bits changed") redistribution of the Netscape Communicator (or
Navigator) binaries under fairly liberal licensing terms (with no
license fee) with no requirement to change trademarks, etc.  The issue
with the Netscape trademarks is rather with products built by third
parties from the Mozilla source base independent of the Netscape
Communicator releases.

Frank
-- 
Frank Hecker          Pre-sales support, Netscape government sales
hecker@netscape.com   http://people.netscape.com/hecker/