Debian trademark, EAN, proposed letter, SPI heads-up

Joshua D. Drake jd at
Thu Aug 31 15:02:18 UTC 2017

On 08/31/2017 07:19 AM, Ian Jackson wrote:
> Hi.
> Summary:
> Debian would like to sign, jointly with SPI, a letter stating that we
> do not intend to apply for EANs.  A draft of the letter is below.

The vendor should apply for their own EANs. If Debian/SPI applies for 
them it will provide a communication of validity to the vendor 
("Official Debian Images").

+1 for Debian not allowing an external vendor to appear as the official 
distributor (unless they actually are).


> Process:
> We (Debian, me specifically) are about to ask Free Software
> Conservancy for legal advice - specifically whether there is anything
> wrong with this proposed letter.
> If the advice is favourable, and subject to comments we get from SPI,
> we will sign this letter on behalf of Debian and we would like the SPI
> Secretary to sign it on behalf of SPI.
> We will need approval from the SPI Board.  I doubt there would be any
> problem with this, but I thought I should let you know.
> I will CC the Board on the request I make to our legal counsel and ask
> them to send you a copy of the advice we receive.
> Background:
> Debian was recently asked by a vendor of Debian CDs to help them
> out with an issue relating to EANs.  An EAN is the (number
> represented by a) barcode which is used to identify physical products
> at the point of sale.
> Some large online trading platforms prefer everything they sell to
> have an EAN where possible.  (Presumably this makes their database
> management easier or something.)  It appears that they particularly
> don't want their clients to be selling without an EAN, items that do
> have an EAN.
> And they want (for some reason) to ensure that products sold without
> EANs, which bear trademarks, are sold in that way only with the
> consent of the trademark holder.  I assume that this is part of their
> efforts to try to ensure their clients do not breach trademarks.
> After investigating the issues, we (Debian) don't think we want to
> issue EANs (in part because Debian provides data files, not physical
> embodiments, which probably should not have EANs).
> I drafted the letter you find below.
> I have now been delegated by the Debian Project Leader to take care of
> this issue.
> Thanks for your attention.
> Regards,
> Ian.
> === draft letter ===
>     To Whom It May Concern
>     The Debian Project ("Debian") and Software In The Public Interest
>     Inc ("SPI") wish to make known that:
>     1. Debian, through its Trusted Organisations including SPI, owns and
>     controls the trademark "Debian" in various jurisdictions.
>     2. Debian does not provide European Article Numbers (EANs).  Nor do
>     any of Debian's associated organisations do so on Debian's behalf.
>     3. Debian and SPI give public permission for products embodying
>     Debian's software and documentation to be sold, according to the
>     Debian Trademark Policy (which can be found at
>  That policy does not make any
>     requirement about EANs.  Therefore (provided the the policy is adhered
>     to) we have no objection to Debian branded products being sold without
>     EANs.
>     4. Debian do not anticpate this situation changing in the next 2
>     years.  Specifically, we do not expect to be issuing EANs within the
>     next 2 years.
>     5. Please therefore allow vendors of Debian merchandise to trade,
>     notwithstanding any lack of EANs for those products.
>     6. This is without predjudice, of course, to our right to enforce our
>     trademarks against anyone found violating our trademark policy.  We
>     are simply saying that lack of an EAN is, in itself, completely fine.
>     Signed
>     for the Debian Project          for Software in the Public Intere
> === email from trading platform support desk to a Debian vendor ===
>     From: Support Vendeur ****
>     To:***
>     Subject: RE:[CASE ****] Demande de courrier
>     Dear Seller,
>     Thank you for contacting ***. My name is **** and it has been a
>     delight to talk with you on the phone. Once again, thank you for
>     taking the time to answer me. It is my pleasure to assist you with
>     your query related with your EAM exemption application.
>     As regards as your case, I can see that you would like to products from
>     the brand Debian without having to buy EAN codes.
>     Please note that in order to do that, as you are not the manufacturer of
>     the concerned products, you need to apply for an EAN exemption approval.
>     In order to have your application processed, the fields below should be
>     populated in the form.
>     Estimated annual revenue
>     Condition of your product
>     Company website
>     Company description
>     Brand to be exempted and seller connection to the brand
>     How do you upload your listings
>     Number of products needing UPC or EAN exemptions
>     Justification for UPC or EAN exemptions
>     Name
>     Email
>     Phone
>     Company name
>     You also need to prove a letter coming from your manufacturer that
>     states those facts:
>     -your manufacturer doesn't provide you any EAN codes.
>     -your manufacturer allows you to send his products without any EAN
>     codes.
>     -your manufacturer is not going to buy any EAN code during the 2 next
>     years.
>     Incomplete applications will not be processed. EAN or UPC exemptions
>     cannot be granted for single ASINs sold in product bundles or in bulk.
>     With the exception of antique products, the condition of an item for
>     which an EAN or UPC exemption is requested must be New.
>     Please find more info about those EAN exemptions requests by clicking on
>     the following link: ***
>     No answer is require from your side, but if you have further questions
>     concerning your sales, please never hesitate to contact *** again [...]

Command Prompt, Inc. || || @cmdpromptinc

PostgreSQL Centered full stack support, consulting and development.
Advocate: @amplifypostgres || Learn:
*****     Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own.   *****

More information about the Spi-general mailing list