Use of Fedora logo in Boxes project

Tom Callaway tcallawa at
Tue Feb 21 16:18:41 UTC 2012

On 02/20/2012 10:34 PM, Zeeshan Ali wrote:
> Hi,
>   As you may or may not know, we have been working on a new GNOME
> application, Boxes[1] that (among other things) enables users to easily
> manage virtual-machines. This also includes ability to detect
> operating-systems given an installation media and presenting an
> intuitive and *impressive* UI to user to easily install different
> operating systems with minimum or no interaction. Boxes makes use of a
> new library, libosinfo[2] that provides information about operating
> systems (which it internally keeps in an XML database).
> We really want (more like need) to show logos of different operating
> systems to the user[3]. I sent a mail[4] to Fedora legal regarding this
> and turns out that we can not use the logos like this unless we get
> explicit permission from each trademark holder. Which is why I'm writing
> to you folks now. Can we please get the permission to use Fedora logo in
> this manner and distribute it along with Boxes or libosinfo?

<Putting my Fedora Legal Hat on>

I want to be very clear here. The issue that was presented to Fedora
Legal for consideration involved whether it would be acceptable for
Boxes to use the trademarked logos in the manner described without
having explicit trademark permission from the trademark owners for that
situation. Upon review, that approach was not approved by Red Hat Legal,
because while trademark law permits the use of another's trademark in a
referential way, as Boxes proposed doing to indicate the operating
system, one may only use as much of the trademark as is necessary to
make the reference. Here, the word mark alone (e.g., "Fedora" or
"Microsoft Windows") is sufficient to describe the operating system, so
there appears to be no reason that the logo is also needed to convey any
necessary information.

Now, with that said, if (and ONLY if), each of the trademark holders
gave explicit and documented permission for their trademarks to be used
in the manner that Boxes desires, then that use would be considered
acceptable to Fedora/Red Hat.

I have consulted with Red Hat Legal on whether it would be acceptable to
grant permission for Fedora's trademarks to be used in the specific
situation that Boxes has requested (using the Fedora logo in addition to
the Fedora wordmark to indicate Fedora VM instances in the User
Interface). Their advice was that Fedora can give permission if it
wishes, via the Fedora Board. Please note that this would not be a
universal grant of trademark rights, and the logo would not be permitted
for use in ANY other situation except for the explicit case proposed by
Boxes (attached for reference), with a modification so that the
disclaimer says: "Any trademarks shown above are used merely for
identification of software products you have already obtained and are
the property of their respective owners." The copyright of the Fedora
logo itself would remain with Red Hat, and no modifications are
permissible to the Fedora logo file (although, it is freely distributable).

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