Trademark Registration & Holding
Open Collective Foundation can help you register a trademark or become the registered keeper of your trademark.
Open Collective Foundation can work with you to register your trademarks or transfer existing registrations to our supervision.
OCF does not automatically take ownership of intellectual property for projects we fiscally host, but you may optionally have us hold assets, including trademarks, for your project.
Related expenses are paid from your Collective’s budget. Costs below are indicative of a typical registration.
- US application for name and/or logo (one class; price increases $350 for each additional class): $1,200. This option includes one hour with Chestek Legal to help you understand your trademarks and how to use and protect them, and advice about creating your trademark guidelines explaining how people may and may not use your name/logo. We suggest two half hour calls: one initial call to discuss strategy and a second call to review and discuss the implementation of the plan.
- Trademark transfer - preparing assignment of single, already registered US trademark and recording assignment with the USPTO (the price of recording increases by $25 for each additional trademark): $350
A trademark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. They are typically words and logos, but can also be colors, sounds and shapes. A trademark ensures that users can identify where a particular good or service came from and who created it, which is an important tool for building trust and reputation in your project.
US trademark registrations require maintenance documents before the six-year anniversary and then on every ten year anniversary after that. In other countries renewals are generally due every ten years, but it will vary from country to country. Unless otherwise notified we will renew your trademarks and invoice your Collective when needed. If you Collective does not have sufficient funds to renew we will notify you as soon as possible and work with you to establish a successor or let the trademark lapse.
It’s up to you to monitor use of your trademarked name and/or logo and decide what if any action to take if you think your trademark is being infringed. As part of the setup process with Chestek Legal, you can discuss some likely scenarios and possible responses.
If an issue arises, you can take some steps yourself, like contacting the person directly and asking them to respect the trademark, or submitting takedown requests to online intermediaries like social media platforms and app stores.
If you have attempted to contact those involved, and you have been ignored or rebutted, feel free to contact us and we will notify our legal counsel (or you can work with your lawyer of choice) who can provide legal advice, write a cease and desist letter or bring an appropriate action in court. Any action that incurs extra expense (e.g. lawyer fees) needs to be funded from your Collective budget.
A trademark is only enforceable in countries where you’ve registered it, but registering in multiple countries can be very expensive (each country multiplies the cost).
If you have the budget and wish to register in multiple countries, you can, but registering in just one country still has value. A valid trademark in any country enables you to submit takedown requests to online intermediaries (like Twitter or Google), and may give you a basis to send a cease and desist letter.
The vast majority of trademark issues are resolved without going to court, so you don’t necessarily need to have a trademark registered in the country where the infringer lives in order to achieve some degree of compliance.
We include help creating your trademark guidelines in our service because it’s an important part of the process. These guidelines are normally hosted on your website or Collective page, and they help people understand how they can and cannot use your name and/or logo, and how your trademark interacts with your open source license.
If you are moving to another fiscal sponsor or starting your own entity, and that entity meets certain criteria, we can transfer your trademarks over to it (the criteria are determined by what we’re allowed to do by law as a US 501(c)(3) nonprofit, e.g., we can’t usually transfer assets to a for-profit proprietary company).
If the project is shutting down completely, or you don’t have a successor entity that we are allowed to transfer assets to, we will allow the trademarks to lapse.
If your Collective runs out of money and can’t (or doesn’t want to) pay the trademark renewal fees after 6 years (the first time) or 10 years (thereafter), we will allow the trademark to lapse. (See elsewhere in our documentation for more details about termination).