Reading Hackspace has always been member driven, but the underlying company structure does not reflect this. The actual structure was based on trust and a pragmatic approach.
This may change, but we have come along way based on this structure.
So is it your opinion that University Hackspaces are not actually hackspaces, and therefore could not use the trademark if HSF owned it ?
One of the few things the HSF is opinionated about is that you are not a member-run organisation unless that’s legally the case. We’ve seen spaces in similar situations fail because the members don’t legally have any way of governing the organisation. Pragmatism works fine, right up to the point where it doesn’t.
I will also note that the HSF itself does not have a view on the trademark issue at this point - that’s why we’re having this discussion.
I’m personally not convinced we should trademark the name, however if we do our policy should be to license it freely to all non-commercial organisations - not just those who are entitled to full membership of the Foundation.
OK, first off I don’t feel that trademarking hackspace/makerspace is a good use of the foundations time and resources so what I think about this debate, beyond that, is a tad moot.
Are university hackspaces, hackspaces? Well yes, they are spaces for making. What they are NOT is community hackspaces, they’re a great resource but only if you are a member of the university.
The definition that we created was based on the fact that the core group of spaces who were/are involved does fit that structure, we felt that we should focus on community led spaces as they are the ones lacking any significant support. I’d quite like to know more about Reading as I feel they (you?) may be a grey area. It wasn’t meant to be exclusionary but we had to define what a space was, it’s not set in stone though
I’m going to do a separate post for this later on btw as I feel the debate about what kind of spaces should be supported by the foundation, might be better off in its own topic rather than under the trademarking one. You’re also very welcome to join our live chat https://t.me/UKHackspaceFoundation
My understanding of the law is that only commercial use counts for proactive or retrospective trademarks. I.e. Unless the term Hackspace is used by a commercial entity any concept of trademark is irrelevant.
I’m also of the opinion that UK HSF has a lot more to offer the community than protecting the name.
The term Hackspace was invented by @russ and @jonty for London Hackspace, thus was the first commercial use, and could trademark, other spaces could file objections on the basis they’ve been using it unchallenged, but if the majority of those spaces got on board then it would likely win, not to mention the cost of objections.
Just to reinforce this, Gratnells went for the trademark of FabLab too as @marc just this evening pointed out.
afaik it is too late to trademark it after it has become generic, if you manage to get it you probably shouldn’t have been able to.
Also if they created the word (is that correct/provable?) for London Hackspace then surely only London Hackspace has the claim and has London Hackspace ever used the word Hackspace alone as a trademark?
So do they even have a right to make any kind of claim?
It is used widely by separate people and entities generically as a synonym for hackerspace or makerspace, it doesn’t need to be a household name. (Some existing worldwide before London Hackspace) The fact that they are making a magazine about the subject itself points out that it is somewhat widespread. And no one has enforced a trademark over that time. Compare it to something like Fab Lab which has been protected. Clearly it would take more time to pin it down entirely legally and I haven’t attempted to do that.
Even if you can show that they took the space out, they have never enforced hackspace as a non generic term. ‘London Hackspace’ is their trademark and unless anything has been formally handed over the Hackspace Foundation has no claim to it at all.
Eg. the wikipedia page hackspace predates London Hackspace by 6 months and uses the word generically so it clearly was already a term in use.
I don’t see why you should need to enforce it as a non-generic term if its purpose is clearly specified. The term hackspace is relatively rarely used as it is, and in company names it’s exclusively used by Hackspace foundation companies.
The person who created the Wikipedia article is German, where the standard term is hackerspace. That’s not relevant to the UK.
That’s how trademarks work. It’s specifically to stop people sitting back and letting it get popular and then claiming exclusivity. Now that the term hackspace is used generically you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. But that is also a good thing because they can’t enforce it for this magazine either. Plus the argument that they are using your goodwill falls flat if you contradictorily claim that it isn’t a widely used term!
I said relatively - outside the hacker/maker community it’s largely unknown. I still haven’t seen anything to back up your claim of genericity. We’ve jumped on people using the word hackspace for publicity or naming without some sort of blessing, defined it clearly on the HSF website, and used it in a consistent way and encouraged other spaces to do the same.
I’m not disputing your knowledge of IP law, I don’t have legal training, but I don’t see that a lower-case H makes it generic. And a hackspace can exist and use the term for itself without having applied for membership.
The only space I can think of that uses the term without being associated with HSF is Imperial’s Advanced Hackspace, but they copied our pattern early on and are unable to be a hackspace in our sense because of their funding. If you have examples of this sort of thing undermining a claim I’d be interested to read.