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Trademark Policy

The "mjbots" and "moteus" trademarks are owned and protected by mjbots Robotic Systems LLC.  They make it possible to say what is officially an "mjbots" product while also allowing for creative use of the open source technologies that underpin them.

TLDR: Most non-commercial uses of the mjbots/moteus trademarks are allowed and do not require permission; most commercial uses require permission.  In either case, the trademarks cannot appear official or imply any endorsement by mjbots Robotic Systems.

If you have any doubts about whether your intended use of a mjbots trademark requires permission, please contact us at info@mjbots.com

This document was derived in part from the Rust Foundation Trademark Usage Policy.

The "mjbots trademarks"

mjbots Robotic Systems LLC develops several open source hardware projects, such as the moteus brushless controller.  This document provides information about use of the "mjbots trademarks", as well as examples of common ways people might want to use these trademarks, with explanations as to whether those uses are OK or not or require permission.

The "mjbots trademarks" include two work marks:

  • mjbots
  • moteus

Trademarks are names and designs that tell the world the source of a good or service.  Protecting trademarks for an open source project is particularly important.  Anyone can change the source code and produce a product from that code, so it's important that only the original product, or variations that have been approved by the project, use the project's trademarks.  By limiting use of the "mjbots trademarks", mjbots can help users and developers know they're getting the product produced by mjbots and not someone else's modified version.  The trademark assures users and developers of the quality and safety of the product they are using.

Using the trademarks

Appearing official, affiliated, or endorsed

The most basic rule is that the "mjbots trademarks" cannot be used in ways that appear (to a casual observer) official, affiliated, or endorsed by mjbots Robotic Systems, unless you have written permission from mjbots Robotic Systems.  This is the fundamental way we protect users and developers from confusion.

Since this rule is about managing perception, it is subjective and somewhat difficult to nail down concretely.  There are some obvious ways to avoid problems, like including the word "unofficial" in a very prominent way, but if you have any doubts, we would be more than happy to help.

The basics: referring to mjbots/moteus

As with any trademark, the "mjbots" and "moteus" word marks can be used with minimal restriction to refer to the moteus brushless controller and mjbots Robotic System's products.

They may not be used:

  • to refer to any other motor controllers
  • in a way that is misleading or may imply association of unrelated motor controllers or robot parts or accessories with the moteus brushless controller or mjbots Robotic System's products
  • in ways that confuse the community as to whether the moteus brushless controller hardware and firmware is open source and free to use

Uses that do not require explicit approval

There are a variety of uses that do not require explicit approval.  However, in all the cases outlined below, you must ensure that the use of the "mbots trademarks" does not appear official, as explained above.

  • Stating accurately that a product contains moteus brushless motor controllers produced by mjbots Robotic Systems or that a product is compatible with moteus brushless controllers.
  • Using the "moteus" trademark in the names of non-commercial products like "RosMoteus", or in the name of code repositories in e.g. GitHub, is allowed when referring to use with or suitability for moteus controllers.  For commercial products (including crowdfunded or sponsored ones), please check in with us to ensure your use does not appear official.
  • Using the "mjbots trademarks" on t-shirts, hats, and other artwork or merchandise, even in modified form, is allowed for your personal use or for use by a by a small group of community members, as long as they are not sold.  If you want to distribute merchandise with "mjbots trademarks" at an affiliated event, please contact us for permission.
  • Using the "mjbots trademarks" (even in modified form) for social events like meetups, tutorials, and the like is allowed for events that are free to attend.  For commercial events (including sponsored ones), please check in with us.  The event cannot appear to be officially endorsed or run by mjbots Robotic Systems without written permission.
  • Using the "mjbots trademarks" in books or publications like "moteus Cookbook" is allowed.
  • Using the word "moteus" on websites, brochures, documentation, academic papers, books, and product packaging to refer to the moteus brushless controller is allowed.

Uses that require explicit approval

  • Distributing a modified version of the moteus brushless motor controller, its firmware, or a modified version of any other mjbots Robotic Sytems's product or firmware and calling it "moteus" or "mjbots" requires explicit written permission from mjbots Robotic Systems.
  • Selling t-shirts, hats, and other artwork or merchandise requires explicit written permission from mjbots Robotic Systems.  We will usually allow these uses as long as (1) it is clearly communicated that the merchandise is not in any way officially from mjbots Robotic Systems and (2) it is clearly communicated whether profits benefit mjbots Robotic Systems.
  • Using the "mjbots trademarks" within another trademark requires written permission from mjbots Robotic Systems except as described above.

Helping out

Please keep an eye out for questionable uses of the "mjbots" and "moteus" word marks.  You can report potential misuse to info@mjbots.com.  We will evaluate each case and take appropriate action.

Please do not approach users of the trademarks with a complaint.  That should be left to mjbots.

If you have a specific question or concern, please contact us at: info@mjbots.com