MSX Logo policy updated

by snout on 19-07-2003, 19:02
Topic: MSX Revival
Languages:

On the 27th of june 2003 the MSX Association have changed their policies regarding the use of the MSX logo. The MSX Association holds the trademark 'MSX'. In order to allow all MSX users to employ this trademark in a wide range of situations, they have established conditions regarding the use of the 'MSX' and 'MSXPLAYer' logo's. Currently the following guidelines are followed.

Websites about MSX

  • Websites are allowed to use the MSX logo freely regardless of the contents of the page. However, the MSX Association does not acknowledge this right for homepages carrying material for which illegality such as the infringement of copyrights has been confirmed.
  • The official MSX and MSXPLAYer logo's can be downloaded on this website. You are alllowed to make changes to the size, but please do not change the horizontal to vertical ratio. Perhaps a logo in vector-format will be released in the future.
  • Please put a line indicating that the MSX Association is the holder of the MSX trademark on an easy to spot place on the homepage. For example: 'MSX' is a trademark of the MSX Association.
  • Please put a link to the MSX Association's homepage (http://msxa.fcm.co.jp). If you decide to do so, you are obligated to report this to the MSX Association by email (info@msxa.fcm.co.jp).
  • If you want to make changes to the logo like different colors etc. please contact the MSX Association first.

MSX Software and Magazines

  • Treatment is the same as for homepages. Please put the logo and the trademark notice on an easy to spot place on either the package of the software product or on the cover of the magazine.
  • If you are using the MSX logo, please contact the MSX Association before distribution and let them know the goal, the contents and the planned circulation (amout of copies) of your product.
  • The use of the MSX logo is free when used for non-profit purposes, distribution on a very small scale or educational purposes. In case of doubt, feel free to contact the MSX Association.

MSX Emulators

The MSX Associaton website states: 'We are very sorry, but at the moment we do not allow the use of the MSX logo for the following reasons: Please note that these rules do not prohibit the development of emulators, nor do they prohibit naming these emulators with names comprising the string "MSX".

  • At the moment, the MSX logo can only be used for real machines complying to the MSX standard. This is also the reason why the MSXPLAYer uses an original logo.
  • The MSXPLAYer is the only emulator for which the MSX Association guarantees correct operation, The MSX Association cannont guarantee the operation of other emulators.

You may use the MSX logo on homepages where emulators are distributed. However, in this case, you have to put a notice about our exemption from responsibility on an easy to spot place on the homepage. For example:

Neither the MSX Association nor Microsoft guarantees the operation of the software distributed at this page. Both parties do not accept any responsibility concerning the results of using this software. Please use this software at your own risk.'

Merchandizing

If you are using the MSX or MSXPLAYer logo on merchandizing like T-Shirts, stickers etc. you have to remit license costs to the MSX Association for using the MSX Trademark. If you are currently selling or going to sell merchandizing using the MSX or MSXPLAYer logo, contact the MSX Association.

These guidelines can be changed without prior notice.

Comments (22)

By snout

Ascended (15187)

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19-07-2003, 19:05

I wonder if the Software/Magazines policy also counts for MSX hardware

By sunrise

Paragon (1091)

sunrise's picture

19-07-2003, 19:49

I wonder if they may use it for outside Japan.
I think Microsoft has to inform the rest of the world as regards MSX and in a way everyone can take note of it. Only putting it on this website will not mean you achieve anyone.

This means also almost are farewell to those who wanted the t-shirts unless the fee is acceptable.
And indeedI wonder if our labels on the hardware such as the cf and ide are allowed in this way

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5497)

mars2000you's picture

19-07-2003, 19:56

What about the "official" fMSX logo, that you can see on the following page ?

http://fms.komkon.org/fMSX/

Or must we suppose that there's an agreement between the MSX Association , Microsoft and Marat for use of this logo that includes the MSX logo in black color ???

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

19-07-2003, 20:02

As far as I understand it, the fMSX and new NLMSX logo must both be changed.
I think these rules are still reasonable, although the requirements for merchandising are a bit strict. I suppose the costs are low.
Still, they cannot stop me from producing some shirts. I believe these rules are purely aimed at commercial companies wanting to make easy money from the MSX revival.

By konamiman

Paragon (1041)

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19-07-2003, 21:33

I see the rules for websites, magazines and emulators as reasonable, but about the merchandising I agree with GuyveR: it makes no sense to be obligated to pay a fee for just silling a few T-Shirts with the MSX logo in a users meeting.

By snout

Ascended (15187)

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19-07-2003, 22:10

I could try and found out how strict the Merchandizing rules should be taken. Maybe there are exceptions (like non-profit, small scale etc. ) If I know more I'll let you know later.

By mth

Champion (484)

mth's picture

19-07-2003, 23:27

I am wondering whether the trademark is still valid. Unlike patents and copyrights, trademarks must be actively used and defended or they are lost.

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/metaschool/fisher/domain/tm.htm#6

"The rights to a trademark can be lost through abandonment, improper licensing or assignment, or genericity. A trademark is abandoned when its use is discontinued with an intent not to resume its use. Such intent can be inferred from the circumstances. Moreover, non-use for three consecutive years is prima facie evidence of abandonment."

Since the previous MSX logo trademark holder, ASCII, did not use the MSX trademark for a lot longer than three years, I think this would be abandonment.

Note that the site I quoted above is about US trademark law. As far as I know trademark law is generally the same worldwide, but there may be subtle differences and besides, I am not a law expert.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

19-07-2003, 23:52

I don't think the MSX logo ever was abandoned.
In all the places it was ever used it was correct. It was never used on a coffee maker, or a different brand of non-compatible products. So there has never been anything to defend.
I don't see how not developing new MSX standards translates into abandoning the trademark.

By Argon

Paragon (1081)

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19-07-2003, 23:58

Crap...
I was planning on having MSX T-shirts made for the next fait in Holland Sad

Kris.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9767)

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19-07-2003, 23:59

I believe these rules are purely aimed at commercial companies wanting to make easy money from the MSX revival.

When some scener is selling an msx game on some fair.. say 35 copies for 25euro each.. is that regarded as a commercial company then?

By mth

Champion (484)

mth's picture

20-07-2003, 00:11

I don't think the MSX logo ever was abandoned.
In all the places it was ever used it was correct. It was never used on a coffee maker, or a different brand of non-compatible products. So there has never been anything to defend.

For several years, ASCII didn't sell MSX products, nor did they license third parties to do so. This is the first reason for considering the trademark abandoned.

All the amateurs that did use the MSX logo in that time, did so without a license from ASCII. ASCII did not take any action against use by others of their trademark on computer hardware and software. That is the second reason for considering the trademark abandoned.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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20-07-2003, 00:11

To Argon: I'm sure that will be appreciated! Like I said, I'm sure the rule is to prevent merchandising companies from hooking into the MSX revival for free.

To Wolf: That sentence was purely aimed at the merchandising. If you read the rules you can clearly see there are no restrictions on software or licenses required.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

20-07-2003, 00:13

mth: AFAIK it was never required to obtain a license for developing MSX software. It is a free platform afterall, it has always been that way.
Don't confuse MSX with closed platforms by Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft that make a loss on their console hardware and win money by licensing software.

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

20-07-2003, 00:21

First of all, I'm not sure if these rules apply only to American Trademark laws or also to international/Japanese trademarks. Furthermore we are not sure in what ways Nishi covered the trademarks of MSX. I suggested to get some more information about merchandize and such, I suggest I also try to find more about the trademarks Wink

By Sander

Ambassador (1845)

Sander's picture

20-07-2003, 00:35

It would indeed be nice to now if the MSX association can enforce their trademark policy globally. I know for sure that if you want to keep your trademark, you need to pay fees each year to the local trademark policy keepers in each country you want to enfore your trademark on.

By mth

Champion (484)

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20-07-2003, 01:02

in reply to Guyver: Apparently if anyone is allowed to use a trademark, without any kind of quality control by the trademark owner, the trademark is lost.

(quoted from the same law site as before)

"Trademark rights can also be lost through improper licensing or assignment. Where the use of a trademark is licensed (for example, to a franchisee) without adequate quality control or supervision by the trademark owner, that trademark will be canceled. Similarly, where the rights to a trademark are assigned to another party in gross, without the corresponding sale of any assets, the trademark will be canceled. The rationale for these rules is that, under these situations, the trademark no longer serves its purpose of identifying the goods of a particular provider."

The MSX logo was used for years to identify hardware and software conforming to the MSX standard, not to identify products of ASCII. So it was not used as a trademark, even in the 80's.

I think MSX Association should stick to defending "MSX Player" as a trademark. The "MSX Player" emulator is their product; the MSX system is not.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

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20-07-2003, 01:06

I guess the space aliens invented the MSX system then.

By Grauw

Ascended (8395)

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22-07-2003, 01:49

The MSX logo is like of a 'quality seal', if it is on a product you know it is a real MSX product, and ASCII in the past and MSX-Association will not give permission to use it for products which have nothing to do with MSX, or a product which claims to be for MSX but bluntly violates the MSX standard. The same principle is used in several other cases aswell, for example in the case of game consoles, even the 'Designed for Microsoft Windows' "quality" seal. Also Max Havelaar or the 'Vleeskeurmerk' use a trademarked logo of which they give away licenses.

~Grauw

By Grauw

Ascended (8395)

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22-07-2003, 01:50

p.s. Maarten, if you claim it never was a trademark, you shouldn't apply laws about trademarks on it Wink...

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

22-07-2003, 14:44

It's not really a quality seal, like the one from Nintendo. Because ASCII/MSX Association does not test and license your product.
In fact, a lot of MSX incompatible products carry the MSX logo, while they just work on one particular MSX machine.
I have never seen the MSX logo on something where it doesn't belong and I'm sure if it has happened Microsoft/ASCII/MSX Association (in order of appearance ^_^) has done something about it, protecting their trademark.

By mth

Champion (484)

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23-07-2003, 01:45

Grauw: I'm not saying it never was a trademark. The MSX logo was registered as a trademark by ASCII long ago, you can find it in online trademark databases. I'm saying the trademark has become invalid, at least according to my interpretation of the US trademark laws. Although different countries have slightly different trademark laws, the general idea is the same everywhere, which is necessary because many trademarks are owned by multinationals.

If the MSX logo was used as a quality seal, like Nintendo and Sony do, that would be valid use of a trademark. However, as far as I know there was never a quality check by ASCII on products with the MSX logo on them. Third parties were using the MSX logo on anything that they made for the MSX market, no matter the quality or compatibility of the product in question.

ASCII did not object to them using the trademark in that way. Unlike to patents and copyrights, where you are free to decide whether and when you want to take legal action, trademarks must be actively defended or you lose them. By allowing anybody to use the MSX logo without any quality control, the MSX logo became invalid as a trademark in the mid 80's.

In addition, many years of non-use in the 90's would have invalidated the trademark anyway. At least, I don't think there were ASCII MSX products between 1992 and 2000.

Note: using a trademark on a completely unrelated product is allowed, as long as it does not hurt the product image nor confuse the customer. If you want to sell an MSX bicycle, there is no trademark conflict.

By snout

Ascended (15187)

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23-07-2003, 09:50

I think defending your trademark should/could be limited to preventing other commercial companies of using your logo in an unrightful way.

As far as I know, many companies used the MSX logo for many products, but in all cases they had to pay a small license fee to ASCII (not 100% sure about this one)

Furthermore I wonder what the minimum requirements are to keep a Trademark alive and how local/national trademarks are handled differently from international trademarks. If I look at the information on the MSX Association website, the MSX Trademark should at least still be valid in Japan.

Apart from all that, nothing is keeping the MSX Association from re-enabling the Trademarks worldwide by re-registering them.