Thanks SJ. I largely agree with you there.

There is a complicated backstory about the hats, but I think it's safe to
say that we in Cascadia aren't especially interested in running our own
merch store. However, given the years of delays of getting the hats into
the WMF store, it would be nice if we could get a license to make
occasional production runs of hats and other merchandise and resell the
merchandise at cost, particularly if WikiConference USA happens in Seattle
later this year.

In general, WMF Trademarks is highly protective of the WMF marks. Some of
that is understandable, but it adds a lot of red tape and delays that I
believe sometimes delay or obstruct progress toward goals that are more
important than zealous and highly detailed trademark protections.


On Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 5:23 PM, Sam Klein <> wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 7:07 PM, John Mark Vandenberg <>
> wrote:
> >
> > Again as I recall, many chapters tried to negotiate amendments to that
> > prohibition, and I vaguely recall the French chapter being successful,
> > and I vaguely recall the Italian chapter being unsuccessful.
> >
> > I see the French chapter's shop is still open.
> >
> >
> >
> > I do not see a shop for Italia or Deutschland, but locals may be able
> > to find what I can not.
> >
> > Any details regarding the old chapters stores, especially German and
> > Italian, would be most welcomed to augment and possibly correct my
> > vague recollections.
> >
> > Sj, 99% of this happened during your time on the board, so it would be
> > great if you can help provide some clarity with whatever memories you
> > have.
> TLDR: If a local group comes up with a swag item and design, it should be
> possible to get that into the hands of supporters and community members in
> short order.  What group produces the item, from where it is shipped in
> what batch quantities, and who pays for the item, depend a bit on context.
> I discussed this with lawyers on staff a number of times while on the
> board.  My understanding  [lawyers, please weigh in to correct me as
> needed] was that a separate agreement was necessary, but did not need to be
> onerous, and could be worked out for stores run by established
> organizations (such as french and german stores).
> It is possible to be extra cautious to the extent of not allowing any swag
> to use trademarks unless the central licensor has direct control over the
> quality of the produced product, though some argue that this is not
> necessary.[1]  This extra caution could be a reason not to allow one-off
> initiatives such as a run of hats carried out by a user group.  But
> established chapters & thematic orgs with offices & administrative staff
> should be able to run their own regional store (providing in-country
> shipping, a website in the national languages, &c) which could handle any
> one-offs requested by user groups or projects in the area.
> Finally, for cases where the WMF is feeling trademark-conservative (smaller
> stores, or any swag with a possibility of recipients feeling that there was
> some trademark confusion), it has two further options: a] it can cover the
> full cost of local swag (if you give things away rather than selling them,
> you don't trigger the risk mentioned above, or iirc the related clause in
> the affiliate agreements)... and b] it can arrange to make the swag in the
> global store, and cover the difference in int'l shipping costs (or ship the
> results in bulk to the regional affiliate for further distribution).
> Actual data on which groups want stores and swag, and what they are looking
> for, has been scant.  I recommend organizing such plans and designs on
> meta, and noting any open tm-related discussion threads there.
> If it turns out that inspiring designs, requested by community groups, are
> unable to be produced because the global store cannot produce them, local
> groups cannot get a grant to cover their production, and local groups
> cannot get a simple TM agreement to let them recoup their costs from the
> recipients, then something need to be fixed.  A fix, once there is a
> specific problem in hand, should not be difficult.
> Warmly,
> SJ
> [1] For a brief & incomplete review of relevant issues, see:
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