Dogecoin’s intellectual property (IP)
This intellectual property FAQ sets out a few questions that the Dogecoin Foundation is often asked about our approach to managing IP, in accordance with our Manifesto and for the benefit of the Dogecoin community. There are many types of IP, but for this FAQ, we are focusing on copyright and trademark as they relate to the Dogecoin “brand”. This FAQ does not cover issues related to the Dogecoin code, which is and will remain open-source. For more on the Dogecoin open-source project, please see the open-source licence terms.
So, what IP makes up the Dogecoin brand?
The Dogecoin brand includes the Dogecoin name, logo, and slogans like “wow much coin” – nearly anything which clearly distinguishes Dogecoin and its much amaze community. We’ve included some pictures below, as examples. Our reputation and commitment to Do Only Good Everyday also forms part of the brand! We want to be mindful of how the logo and brand is used, in order to protect the community and what it stands for. In addition to the word “DOGECOIN”, here are some of the logos that make up the Dogecoin brand:
What is copyright?
Copyright is a legal protection for works with a ‘creative stamp’. Typically, copyright focusses on artistic works, like drawings, photos, videos, GIFs, music, and more. Under copyright laws around the world, the owner of the work can protect their creation, usually by asking people not to use or share it without permission. Copyright is an automatic right, so you don’t need to register it. However, even when something is copyright protected, another person can still use it in certain contexts. This varies from country to country, but is typically known as ‘fair use’. Most importantly for us, ‘fair use’ includes memes and allowing the #DogeArmy to continue expressing themselves creatively!
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a way for a person, company or organisation to be identified as the provider of certain goods and services. Many famous brand names and logos are registered trademarks. This means that when people look at the good or service in question, they instantly recognise who is offering it! Like copyright, a trademark owner has the right to prevent others from using the relevant mark without consent. However, unlike copyright, trademarks indicate the “origin” of a product or service, and needs to be formally registered. The trademark, therefore, helps provide certainty, as a ‘guarantee of origin’.
Dogecoin Foundation has said it is fighting off “bad-faith trademark registrations.” What does this mean?
The Dogecoin Foundation represents the accidental crypto-movement, designed to develop a currency for the People. We also strongly believe in our motto – Do Only Good Everyday. We don’t want the Dogecoin community to be misled or taken advantage of by individuals or companies using the Dogecoin brand without permission or accountability. For this reason, we don’t like it when people who don’t care about the Dogecoin ethos try to make money off of the name and logo. This damages the brand and so damages our community. When someone does something in an unfair way, such as registering someone else’s brand, this is known as doing so in “bad faith”. When this happens, and if we think there is a risk of the Dogecoin brand being damaged, we ask our Legal Shibes to review the situation.
Does this mean people can’t make Dogecoin fan products through online marketplaces?
Absolutely not! We love it when people use the meme in a fun way, as this is consistent with our values of being a welcoming cryptocurrency. We are about the community and not profit-driven economics. This is why we don’t like people registering the Dogecoin brand or using the name or logo with a view to making profit for themselves.
Why is the Dogecoin Foundation registering the word “DOGECOIN” and other logos?
If someone else registers the trademarks, they may not have the Dogecoin community’s best interests at heart. If someone else owns the logo, they may try to prevent the DogeArmy and other fans from using it, too! For that reason, the Foundation has chosen to register the trademarks; holding it safe for the Dogecoin community. The reality is that the majority of open-source projects have registered trademarks, which enables them to protect their logo and name for the good of their community. The trademark system is not perfect. It is complex, and cumbersome – much paperwork, such registration deadlines! However, they ultimately protect our community and the Dogecoin name against misuse and exploitation. Trademarks held by the genuine entity, means the logo and name can be better protected from misuse and made available as appropriate under transparent and accessible terms.
What can I do to help protect the Dogecoin brand?
Continue to use the Dogecoin meme in collaborative, exciting and fun ways. But please, remember to Do Only Good Everyday. By following the values of our Manifesto, you too are being a good Shibe. Due to the volume of emails we receive, we cannot always reply to questions and comments. That’s why we made this FAQ! We are working hard alongside our Legal Shibes to stay on top of Dogecoin brand protection, which includes copyright violations and trademark infringements. If you have a serious concern related to the use of the Dogecoin brand in a way that goes against our ethos, you can contact us.
Okay, so what does all of this mean for the Dogecoin community?
This is important: you are welcome – and encouraged – to continue to use Dogecoin images and slogans for fan material and for other creative projects, including selling your fan art on, for example, an Etsy site about Dogecoin. But, if you use ‘Dogecoin’ in bad faith as part of a company name or a trademark in order to enhance your own commercial business, or use the Dogecoin name, trademark, or other assets to suggest endorsement by Dogecoin without talking to us first, that’s not cool. And we need to be cautious, in order to protect the community.