Gracious Professionalism(TM)???

A quick thought:

Does anyone else think it is ironic that the term gracious professionalism and the method coopertition are both trademarked?

I don’t see any irony. Can you explain why you do?

I believe he means if you were truly gracious or cooperative you wouldn’t need to TM them.

I think that’s pretty clever.

Coopertition is also patented, in the specific form of the 2003 game.

Trademarks and patents exist to protect intellectual property–but that’s only part of what they do. The real reason for the patent is to publish an idea. The protection exists to entice people to publish the idea–they get so much exclusive time to profit from said idea before everybody else can. Trademarks protect logos, slogans, and things of that nature. This protects the group from somebody using their slogan/image/logo to profit. (Written materials get copyright protection–the FRC game manuals are copyrighted.)

In FIRST’s case, I can’t think of anybody getting in trouble for using their logo/slogans/concepts, as long as it’s done properly. They publish a logo guide so that teams can use the FIRST logo properly. Pretty lenient in terms of legality.

Does FIRST want those phrases and what they imply to be widely adopted parts of world culture? Yes.

Does FIRST want some malicious or mischievious entity to start advertising Coopertition pronography (I’m not sure what this would be, but I doubt FIRST would like it) or Graciously Professional burglery tools (they let you open locks without damaging them) No.

Trademarking the phrases does seem a bit overly nervous, especially when the protection offered by a trademark is only as good as the consistency of the owner’s actions to protect it.

I doubt FIRST does enough enforcing to let them create a strong case in the few circumstances when enforcement might be important to them.

Blake

FIRST is still using the ™ symbol, meaning that they the organization are treating it as a trademark, not the Federal Government. If it were a registered trademark (recognized by the federal government) it would have and ® following it. So basically FIRST is treating it as a trademark, though it really is not one.

Basically it is an unofficial trademark. It still has some rights (though I cannot remember which specifically) but does not carry the full weight and protections of a Registered trademark.

™ is an official trademark, simply not a registered trademark. I agree registration carries additional protections, but using the ™ symbol conveys significant protections - but only if the user enforced their rights. If you stop using ™, you have given up your trademark.

The user does have the right to license others to use their trademark. This license does not have to include payments. You just have to follow the trademark owner’s “rules”.

Which is exactly what FIRST is doing.

As a point of argument: What do you think FIRST’s lawyers would do if I were to start my OWN robotics competition, using the FIRST logo and Name, and use their GP and Coopertition trademarks to describe it?

That’s called enforcing one’s rights. Since they DO it, their trademarks are protected.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of that!

It just came across my mind when I was thinking of ways to get children more involved in their neighborhood in an inner-city environment. Then I googled gracious professionalism, or typed it in Wikipedia, rather. It brought me straight to FIRST, which I thought was cool, but then brought upon the dilemma of introducing gracious professionalism without using the actual term.

I guess I can use the term as long as its for conceptual purposes, right?

ps. I still find it ironic for humor purposes :smiley:

Jeremiah,
I feel that making the terms more official lends credence to that belief that these terms have meaning for us in the organization and it gives us something of a handle to explain our purpose and general method of conduct to others outside of the organization. I use these terms almost daily when speaking to others about the competition and the way we treat each other. Those who have never heard of First can now take away a term, a phrase, a mental reminder, that there is something that is competitive and yet shares information and celebrates science and technology.

For me, Gracious Professionalism doesn’t fit with the “sport for nerds” aspect of FIRST. The excitement at regionals is tremendous and GP makes me think of dull lectures and boring triple checked leisurely work. Maybe we should brainstorm some new trademarks for FIRST that actually convey the real experience.

What part of this has to do with dull lectures and boring triple checked leisurely work? And what is boring triple checked leisurely work anyway, oddjob from earth?

Jane

For me, Gracious Professionalism doesn’t fit with the “sport for nerds” aspect of FIRST. The excitement at regionals is tremendous and GP makes me think of dull lectures and boring triple checked leisurely work. Maybe we should brainstorm some new trademarks for FIRST that actually convey the real experience.

What makes you think FRC is a “sport for nerds.” I have never thought that and I know at least my team would never think that. On our team we varsity football and basketball players, the ASB president, chairman of VIP, and others who I would not consider nerds. FRC is the “sport fo the mind”.

Also, at least for me, Gracious Professionalism (and the FIRST mission) is what makes FRC my favorite robot competition. Gracious Professionalism is, in my own opinion, the most useful thing most kids can get out of FIRST. This is because technical and engineering skills can be learned from almost any program or technical class, but the communication skills and sense of responsibility and ethics that you get out Gracious Professionalism are unique to FIRST and much harder to learn in the classroom.

The FIRST experience is not solely about robotics and engineering.

I think this gets to the heart of the matter: If Gracious Professionalism is the best thing about [IFIRST[/i], if it is central to “changing the culture”, should it be limited to FIRST events and teams?

I had thought that Gracious Professionalism was something that Dr. Flowers wanted to become part of the culture of engineering specifically, and society as a whole.

Perhaps with the trademark, other events, competitions, activities and groups will be cautions about adopting Gracious Professionalism as part of their culture. It certainly prevents them from using the term in anything official without FIRST’s express permission. I think this is what the original post was trying to get at.

-Mr. Van
Coach, Robodox

Perhaps with the trademark, other events, competitions, activities and groups will be cautions about adopting Gracious Professionalism as part of their culture. It certainly prevents them from using the term in anything official without FIRST’s express permission. I think this is what the original post was trying to get at.

That’s a good point. I had not looked at it like that.

However a trademark protects the usage of term “Gracious Professionalism” in respect to labeling a product or service (specifically recognizing the originating organization) not the philosophy and actual actions/state of being of gracious professionalism (that would be a patent), meaning that other groups could still adopt a similar philosophy just under a different name. Just because it is a trademark there is no reason that other groups cannot adopt this philosophy. The only thing a trademark protects is the name itself in cases in which another organization claims the term as its own, it has nothing to do with usage of the term in day to day activities.

I do not think that there is anything wrong or ironic about them putting a trademark on Gracious Professionalism or Coopertition, all this is doing is adding legitimacy and protections to FIRST. I would hope that people would see the benefit and necessary protections that intellectual property rights bring in this case, I just do not like stretching in order to find irony in or find fault with something is truly a great thing.

I can see that the rationale for the trademark is so that someone can’t take Gracious Professionalism and make it part of a corporate publicity campaign or other such absurdity. That makes sense to me.

I suppose I’m still thinking that it would be wonderful if all robotics competitions - hey, why not all competitions in general - would recognize and promote Gracious Professionalism on the part of their competitors. Of course, they can, and many do, but they’re all now trying to come up with their own name for the same idea.

In any case, I think we can all agree that the idea of Gracious Professionalism needs to spread. (I wish that Gracious Professionalism was the watchword of the day and a guiding principle in the boardrooms of corporations and the offices of politicians.) However we manage to do that - trademark or not - is a good thing.

-Mr. Van
Coach, Robodox

Just because the name is trademarked doesn’t mandate that FIRST not share it - they just have to regulate it (they could sell rights to use it for $1, for example)

Mr. Van’s posts have been making me think today. Thinking is always a good thing. This one me helped remember a post from another wise mentor, Rich Olivera. I’ve been thinking about incentives and what they could be in a business, political, educational, or sports environment.

I’ve wandered away from the trademark discussion and into incentives for practicing Gracious Professionalism. Sorry about that.

Jane

FIRST definitely doesn’t want to keep all such trademarked terms (and patented processes) to itself. Indeed, Dean Kamen occasionally jokes about suing organizations for non-infringement.

I suggest writing a letter or sending a message to a specific person at FIRST HQ (maybe the new Pres?) and asking if they want this to happen.

If the answer is “Yes”, then start convincing those other programs to use (rather than reinvent) a good “wheel”.

Let us know the result.

Blake