Comparisons and advocacy

Does anyone know about trademark law?

 
Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Does anyone know about trademark law?
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

We just got this email in regards to https://moodle.org/plugins/mod_qpracticehttps://github.com/jayeshanandani/moodle-mod_qpractice

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: [HIDDEN]@clockworklaw.com

Date: Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 10:20 PM

Subject: Your Qpractice Plug-in



Dear Mr. Shanandani- 

I am an attorney representing Qpractice LLC, which holds a trademark in the word QPRACTICE. 

The plug-in that you have developed, and which you call Qpractice, is causing confusion for my client's customers and is affecting her SEO. I am writing to request that you rename your module on both Moodle.org and GitHub so that it does not include the word QPRACTICE.

Qpractice LLC owns the trademark QPRACTICE, which is registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) under registration number 4687542 for Qpractice LLC's test preparation products and services. The federal registration can be verified by using the search tools at the USPTO website (http://tess2.uspto.gov/) or by requesting a copy of the registration certificate from me in your reply.

I've written to both Github and Moodle about this issue, and have also emailed Marcus Green directly. I prefer to resolve this informally, I hope that you will cooperate with this request.

Please confirm that you will be able to comply or let me know if you have questions.

Thank you for your cooperation.

-- 
[HIDDEN], Esq.


Innovative Legal Strategy, Precisely Engineered

The trade-mark registration is http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4805:2wyuy2.2.1

As can be seen there, they filed on 14th May 2014, and were awarded the trade-mark on 17th February 2015.

As can be seen on github (https://github.com/jayeshanandani/moodle-mod_qpractice/commits/master), we were using the name since July 2013. I suppose that is not proof that the code was publicly available there on that date, but in fact it was. I was mentoring Jayesh on a Google summer of code project, and he was in India and I was in the UK, and this is how we communicated about the code.

I am pretty sure that in 2014, a Google search for qpractice would have found out github repo, or plugins DB entry, but I don't know. However, QPractice LLC seem to have done a pretty good SEO job, and now the take the whole first page of Google results.

Anyway, does anyone know what the real legal situation is here?

I have better things to do than rename this module. The name qpractice is just an internal name in the code. The actual name of the module is "Question practice".

Without knowing the law, I feel that a fair compromise would be for us to add a not to our plugins DB entry, and the readme in github, clarifying that this is nothing to do with QPractice LLC, and with a link to their web site. Any other suggestions?

 (I have to say, it reminds me of the first two paragraphs from http://megarezo.org/lecture/romans/hhgg/reou_19.html.)

(Edited by Helen Foster to remove email address - original submission Monday, 11 January 2016, 11:14 PM)

 
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Picture of Michael Blake
Re: Does anyone know about trademark law?
Moodle HQ

Thanks Tim.  Will follow up on this from HQ.

If ever there is a question about trademark usage, please ask the person to send a message to support@moodle.com.  We'll be happy to address it.  

 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: Does anyone know about trademark law?
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

Thanks Michael.

 
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Picture of Marcus Green
Re: Does anyone know about trademark law?
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersTesters

Having a site search engine optimised for a term like Qpractice is not especially useful as a promotion tool as a person searching for Qpractice would already know about the product. 

However a link from Moodle.org, a product hosting software used by over 80 million people that probably gets excellent ranking due to its very low spam nature would be very useful indeed.

Trademark law is very different to copyright and patent law and needs to be registered in any jurisdiction where it is disputed to fully defend it. 

 
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