I am sorry if this question is off-topic or there is a better place--feel free to move it or close with an explanation. I have no affiliation with Vistaprint.

I would like to publish a class with the name vistaprint.cls. The class is already written and provides environments for creating business cards and bumper stickers according to Vistaprint's dimensions. I believe this package would be a good place to put environments for the other media Vistaprint can use (rigid airships or coffee cups or whathaveyou).

The problem I think I will face: 'Vistaprint' is a trademark in the United States and probably elsewhere.

I am afraid of legal implications with naming this package vistaprint.cls because lawyers are big and scary and also the name could affect class/package distributors such as TeX Live. Are there any existing guidelines that would help me approach the company with a proper letter asking for the proper rights? I have perused the FAQ and had pleasant conversations with their customer service division (they told me I can't do this and suggested I write a letter).

Alternately, if your answer is of the form "this is a bad idea and you should choose a different name", please suggest an alternate name.

Edit after adding bounty:

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. At this point I will most likely use a different name. With the bounty on this question I am hoping to encounter someone who has been in this territory before.

  • 18
    With lawyers, best to stick with a simple rule: if you need to ask, don't do it. vprint ? Jun 18 '12 at 18:59
  • 2
    what about vistacards ?
    – Tim A
    Jun 18 '12 at 20:56
  • 3
    The real problem is that you already asked. Otherwise as long as you had the disclaimer that this is not endorsed by the company Vistaprint there should be not have been a problem -- You are not competing with or taking any business away form them - in fact you are actually providing a means for them to get more business so perhaps you should ask them to pay you to call it vistaprint. Call up one of their competitors and see if they would like a package named after them, and then call Vistaprint and they'll probably change their tune. Jun 18 '12 at 20:58
  • 6
    That's why I suggested contacting their competitors first. Customer support won't be able to help you with this matter. Don't be afraid of lawyers, its just heir job to intimidate. Plus the worst case is the lawyers would ask you to change the name. Jun 18 '12 at 21:56
  • 1
    VPcards? Sounds to me like you underestimate the users' ability to find your package if it has a non-intuitive name. With the correct description line and read-me (both of which should explain what your class does), I think CTAN users should be able to find your package. While I would like to hope @PeterGrill is right, I am afraid to say that, usually, lawyers don't know any more about typesetting than customer support does about laws – hence they are likely to reject your request. Don't forget that lawyers around the world use Word with actual typewriter settings, like in the '40s.
    – ienissei
    Jun 24 '12 at 6:41

Disclaimer: I don't know anything about vistaprint, and when I went to their website, they refused to tell me anything about themselves without me enabling javascript in my browser.

I would suggest to name the class something else, not for any legal reasons, but because there will likely be more companies offering similar services, and your document class can probably be modified to work with several of them, if not all of them. Restricting it to a single company may not be the best strategy in the long run.

  • Accepted because it will be my course of action. Jul 1 '12 at 17:42

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