May 14, 2018

Cardano representations, affiliations and use of the trademark

Cardano Foundation would like to take this opportunity to provide clarity about public representations and the use of Cardano project related trademarks. We have chosen to do this at this time as our partners are looking for clear direction on how to approach public statements and furthermore the Cardano community regularly approach us for guidance and advice in this area. The Cardano community are a highly motivated and fast-growing group comprised of developers, technologists, original and new purchasers, business partners and ‘philosophically aligned’ advocates. It is our job to assist them in every way we can and support the growth of the project in the best possible manner.

Cardano Foundation was founded with five objectives, one of these objectives is to Protect, Enhance and Evolve the Cardano Ecosystem. One of the ways Cardano Foundation has sought to deliver on this objective is by protecting the Cardano brand and trademark for the benefit of the project.

Since its inception, Cardano Foundation has therefore proactively secured all relevant Cardano related trademarks on behalf of the project, including the Cardano name, exploding star logo and Ada symbol. These assets were not only secured in the Foundations home country, Switzerland, but in many other global target territories. Further information about our rights will be provided in our policy and can be made available on request.

With the responsibility of owning and managing the projects trademarks, what becomes crucial is striking a balance between delivering the right conditions for an open source community to thrive, with the need to actively protect the Cardano project and brand. Considering there are never unlimited resources to police and enforce brand usage, Cardano Foundation will also seek the right balance on how and when to act to withdraw trademark rights in certain cases where the project could be harmed for the rest of the community.

As the project has gone from strength to strength, global awareness has skyrocketed. There are now widespread references and representations about the Cardano name and logo in the public domain and this will only continue to gain momentum. This increasing global recognition of the project has meant its increasingly important for Cardano Foundation to issue a fair use of trademarks policy. In doing so we seek to nurture a rich and robust environment for participation and innovation to thrive.

As a natural result of this success, we are increasingly being asked questions by our community as to exactly what representations can be made using Cardano and associated branding; these are not always straightforward questions to answer at this time. We must now seek to achieve the right balance between the ‘old trademark world’ and those of the emerging blockchain world, with its unique challenges for a decentralised and open source environment. What we can do now is state our general philosophy which we hope our community will align with:

Cardano was founded as a gift to the world. To empower the individual, rather than improve the status-quo towards existing centres of power and wealth. Public blockchain technology has the potential to deliver individuals the choice to trade with who they want, when they want, how they want. It is these fundamental attributes that underpin the Cardano project and we believe will kickstart a peer-to-peer economic revolution.

At the same time, Cardano must stand for transparency and prevent fraud, misrepresentation and uncertainty. To protect those same individuals and of course to create a fair and open environment for commercial partners who choose to innovate on our platform.

So what does this mean in practical terms?

We are drafting a ‘fair use trademark policy’; We are working to create a policy that strikes the right balance between protecting the brand and the investment made in that brand, protection against misrepresentation and at the same time does not inhibit growth, allowing the community to build, nurture and innovate. We will ensure that the spirit of this fair use trademark policy will be aligned with the ethos of an open source project and individual empowerment.

We ask for a little more patience to get this right and we will keep the community informed at regular intervals with our progress on this important matter.

We will work in close collaboration with our partners IOHK and Emurgo on this initiative, ensuring due care and attention to commercial aspects and full consideration is given to their ability to operate effectively. This will help ensure a well-rounded policy is produced.

Finally, we are approaching some important milestones for the project. As we look forward and prepare for the computation layer launch we are committed to fulfilling our role to provide the right structure and processes to deliver a great product.

Cardano is proving to be an ever more exciting journey and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners and support the community.

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