Thinking about this last night, I came up with another question needing legal expertise to answer.
Well all know that the RI is in trouble. It may be that their heart is in the right place and they do all the good things that Mike and others, myself in an ideal world, would have them do, and say they will not seek to enforce their trademark on anybody in the scicom community.
But what then happens if the RI go broke and have to service their creditors by selling off all their property, intellectual and otherwise?
Will whoever buys the Christmas Lecture trademark bound by any agreement that the RI might have with the scicom community? Wouldn’t any purchaser of the trademark want to make money out of it no matter what agreements had been made by the previous owner?
To use Simon’s analogy of the gate in the field, we might have a nice friendly owner who decides to leave the gate open, but keep the field gated and fenced. But when the field gets sold, what is to stop the new owner from locking the gate and charging admission?
If this is the case – Simon, would it be? – then the only defence against this eventuality would be to have the trademark annulled. The RI’s continued existence is, at best, at risk given that they still owe a *lot* of money. The alternative would be banking on the good graces of not only the RI – and I would credit them with having their hearts, if not their heads, in the right place – but also any and every potential future owner of the trademark.
I’m not sure that’s a risk I want to take.