5 February 2002



Federal Geographic Data Committee

In April 1998, the FGDC received a letter from the firm Cislo & Thomas LLP on behalf of their client The Metadata Company advising the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) that the word METADATA ia a registered trademark (Nos. 1,409,260 and 2,185,504) word owned by The Metadata Company. The FGDC forwarded the letter to the Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor. The Solicitor responded back to Cislo & Thomas regarding the alleged infringement basically stating that due to the fact that the FGDC was not selling any goods under the word Metadata, that the FGDC was not infringing upon the trademark registration. Furthermore, it was determined that the word "metadata" is widely used within the computer science community and in computer programs without reference to the trademark and therefore the word "metadata" has entered the public domain and is no longer a trademark.

Since then, the FGDC has received several inquiries regarding the alleged trademark infringement seeking the FGDC official position or statement. The statement below has been provided by the Office of the Solicitor.

May 25, 2000

Re: Registered Trademark word METADATA

In April 1998, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) received a letter notification from The Metadata Company of the alledged trademark infringement of the word Metadata by the FGDC. At that time this matter was turned over to the Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor.

The FGDC cannot provide a legal opinion on this matter nor can we advise you as to how to respond to any allegation of infringement. However, we can give you a casual and off-the-cuff opinion that we believe the word "metadata" in the United States is in the public domain.

FGDC, USGS, 590 National Center, Reston, VA 20192
Updated: Wednesday, 07-Nov-2001 10:14:40 EST
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