Groupon vs. GNOME: open-source foundation launches trademark battle

Groupon vs. GNOME: open-source foundation launches trademark battle

[See update below]

Groupon launched an iPad-based checkout platform called Gnome in May 2014. However, the name Gnome already had a long history in the world of open-source software. The GNOME Project has been in use as a GNU/Linux and BSD desktop for 17 years and was registered as a trademark by The GNOME Foundation in 2006.

GNOME technology can also be found in TVs, tablets, phones and other consumer devices. Crucially, for the potential clash between the GNOME Foundation and Groupon, the SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service system is based on GNOME.

The GNOME Foundation has announced that it is setting up a legal fund to fight Groupon’s trademark applications. It claims it contacted Groupon requesting that it change the name of the iPad system and that the deals company refused and has filed further trademark claims.

The group says it will need $80,000 to file formal proceedings against 10 of the 28 trademark applications filed by Groupon and must do so by December 3 2014. It’s now soliciting donations via PayPal, Flattr and Bitcoin through its site.

We’ve contacted Groupon for a response and will update this post with its reply.

Update: Groupon has now given us a statement saying it will put the dispute to an end. The full statement follows:

“Groupon is a strong and consistent supporter of the open source community, and our developers are active contributors to a number of open source projects. We’ve been communicating with the Foundation for months to try to come to a mutually satisfactory resolution, including alternative branding options, and we’re happy to continue those conversations. Our relationship with the open source community is more important to us than a product name. And if we can’t come up with a mutually acceptable solution, we’ll be glad to look for another name.”

Help the GNOME Foundation defend the GNOME trademark against Groupon! [GNOME Foundation]

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