Talk:Trademark application flow chart

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early step

A very early step should be something like "Demonstrate you know what it means to be a Free Geek". In this step folks should show that they know the principles and have an idea of what kinds of programs they'd offer. They should be able to explain why a Free Geek is a non-profit, rather than a for profit business. They should have a reasonable understanding of what non-hierarchical means. They should be able to write about responsible recycling and use the word "reuse" without being prompted by us. If they can't talk their way out of this step, there's no reason to make them research recycling partners, etc. (Too much work for them and us.)

Another early step should be about communication. They should be able to at least give us email addresses and sign up for the startup lists. We should have names and contacts of two or three people.

They should also have a general "inventory" or resources in their community, namely:

  • technical volunteers
  • social worker type volunteers
  • some recycling outfits they might work with

RfS 02:14, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

application process

The flow chart we're discussing aims to amend our current process, which can be found here:

Free Geek Startup Trademark Use Application

I'm the new guy but here's what I think. For the most part, I think we know a lot of the things that we want to know about applicants. It's just become an information flow problem once we try to get that information.

One part of it is in the application processing on our end. There is no process there yet. I think that Ifny's suggestion to tag applications and put them on certain tracks so that we have good time-lines for processing is good.

Then there is the format of the applications. Right now we ask general questions of preliminary applicants and then tighten the screws and ask for specifics in the ongoing status application. Though I understand that this movement from general to specific was probably implemented to give preliminary startups a chance to get green-lighted and then work out kinks later, in the end I think it actually might do a disservice to applicants that aren't right for the organization by allowing them wiggle room; it creates more work for us because we're asking a lot of questions twice; and it becomes an information battle between people writing and reading very long emails (see Trademark queue in RT).

We know what we want. Let's advertise that clearly, require regular reports and numbers, as David suggests. Place the responsibility on all of us to make reports. Because we don't have the resources to perform audits.

Another idea: shift the questioning away from "what do you plan to do?" to "what are you doing?" We all know what we want to be doing. It's in our principles, it's on the wiki. An observation about human nature: when we ask people about their plans and then ask follow-up questions about their plans it makes them wax poetic at length. Especially when they haven't actually started doing any of it. Instead, ask them what they have been doing. That gets us all into a certain mind-set of reporting what we're doing: we do our homework, we follow the principles, we make reports about what we're doing.

In order to shift from the first type of questioning to the more direct one, we simply ask specific questions first according to this flow chart. Let us see your vendor list. Let's see who you've called. Let's see what BAN (or anyone else) has said about your area. Let's see your health and safety plan. Things like that.

Thanks for reading.

Ian 00:17, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

We know what we want

We know what we want. Let's advertise that clearly, require regular reports and numbers, as David suggests. ...

I'd like spelled out in one place the things we know, rather than assume we know it. Our concerns are scattered all over the place right now. Some of the flowchart as it stands seems too abstract to me. There should be a specific list of points, which is what I was thinking about the flow chart.

No problems with many of the process ideas that have been suggested, but I want to see a concrete list of steps listed somewhere.

RfS 18:37, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

My idea of a useful flowchart

  • RfS 16:47, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Updated: RfS 15:56, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

(moved out of discussion page to main page)

what are the minimums elements of a Free Geek?

Even if your organization's plan is to maximize on reuse (ours is, too) or to focus on software, you will receive electronic waste. Please provide us with a general list of..

It seems to me like a Free Geek needs at least either (a) an adoption program or (b) a hardware grants program. I expect that some folks who want to start a Free Geek could look at the above statement and think that the entirety of their activity could be to "focus on software" -- maybe educating and promoting open source or whatever. I don't think this would qualify as a Free Geek which essentially reuses technology to address the digi-vide problem (using free software).

What pieces of existing Free Geeks could be discarded and an organization still be a FG?

RfS 19:45, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Free Geek core activities

Our Principles are less specific than our Mission Statement. The question is : Is this on purpose?

Our Mission Statement mentions "exchange" of community service for education and hardware. I feel like this makes for a strong case if we want to include direct rewards to volunteers (education and computers) in our core activities.

However, if our Principles were made less specific as far as this wording to allow for more flexibility then core requirements should be to give computers to the community in at least one form (i.e. a grant program and/or an adoption program and or a build program).

If the wording difference is only accidental and we'd actually prefer a stronger interpretation of our Mission Statement then I think hardware needs to be directly rewarded to the volunteers who actually do the work.

Ian 23:01, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Our Principles are less specific than our Mission Statement.
Principle 1 says that the missions statement of the Free Geek should match ours. This means that a similar mission is included (by a reference) in the principles. This gives us two methods to define core activities:
  1. Definition of mission statement as similar to ours
  2. The other principles, for example principle 4 "Provide low- and no-cost computer technology and training to their community."
RfS 16:12, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

moved from main page

You don't need to use the Free Geek name to do a lot of the great things we're trying to do. But in order to use the name legally you must follow our principles and maintain a level of transparency. And you have to apply to use our trademark. This process is broken down into getting Preliminary status, then Ongoing status, and then maintaining that status. The process summary is as follows.

  1. Start getting the word out that you're trying to start a Free Geek. You aren't an official Free Geek yet.
  2. Get Preliminary status from us. This means we allow you to incorporate using "Free Geek" as part of your name.
  3. Incorporate and apply for tax non-profit status according to your jurisdiction. (In the US this is likely a 501(c)(3) tax status). This could take some time.
  4. Get ongoing status as a Free Geek. This will give you legal status to continue to use the Free Geek name. All Free Geeks continue to maintain our principles, transparency and work consensually to improve them.

Every object has a number and a detailed description below. The following steps are to be taken in order by a startup. Each step must be completed and found sufficient by the review committee before the next step is begun.

This is a graph with borders and nodes. Maybe there is an Imagemap used so the nodes may be linking to some Pages.

1. Even if your organization's plan is to maximize on reuse (ours is, too) or to focus on software, you will receive electronic waste. Please provide us with a general list of types of electronics that will be accepted and an exhaustive, detailed plan on how they will be dealt with, especially hazardous waste. The list should include but not be limited to: CRTs, motherboards, etc. You DO NOT need to be a recycler, but at this point you need a plan for waste removal. Coming up with a plan for dealing with CRT monitors in a responsible way will be a crucial point here. The greater plan will be the result of considering as many options as possible and going with the most responsible options. Please note, you do not need to be a Free Geek to call around. We recommend getting in touch with the Basel Action Network ( ) for some help with that research. Startups that are not interested in or cannot come up with a comprehensive plan for dealing with their e-waste will not make it past this point.

2. Please develop a health & safety plan that will be relevant to your proposed area of service that deals with hazardous waste and the possibility of environmental contamination. For an example, check out our Safety policy.

3. Please explain why your community needs a Free Geek. Please note: in order for your organization to be a Free Geek, it needs to satisfy the Free Geek Principles. As a non-profit, it next satisfies the public will. Staff, volunteers and members of the community will be on equal ground when making decisions. This is called a non-hierarchical system and a group that does not work this way is not a Free Geek.

4. Imagine that you have a lot of volunteers and two of them aren't getting along. One of them has requested that the other be asked to leave the organization. Please outline some possible scenarios through which your organization could handle this request and how does it demonstrate the decision-making program, various committees, if any, that you have in mind to start out with. Please demonstrate that you understand the elements of the decision-making process that are unique to non-hierarchical democracies.

5. If steps one through three have been adequately done, Free Geek will formally grant preliminary status for your startup. The startup must follow the steps outlined in the preliminary status page in order to keep the name, or it will be revoked.