No, the Mozilla Foundation's situation is not analogous to UQM in the least. Mozilla provides Firefox for free, yes, but it engages in a whole host of activities alongside that that generates revenue.
They put their trademarks upon the product to establish its origin. Within the "About Mozilla Firefox" section of the browser: "Firefox and the Firefox logo are trademarks of the Mozilla Foundation." Despite it being free, it is a trademarkable product within commerce brought to the market by Mozilla.
What, then, is UQM doing beyond the distribution of the game? What is it receiving in exchange from end users that go download it?
That is all they have to do to engage in commerce, distribution. The act of distribution establishes a presence in the general market. And the UQM doesn't have to receive anything in return for the transaction. Would you say that someone giving away free product to establish awareness of their organization is not engaging in commerce?
No, UQM is not protected because it "doesn't advertise or brand itself with another trademark." It is protected because the past and current trademark holders have decided it either doesn't cause confusion or isn't engaged in commerce, therefore there aren't grounds to pursue infringement claims.
It is protected because it doesn't advertise or brand itself with another trademark, hence the "Star Control" trademark holders could not establish that there was any confusion in the origin of the product. Despite the contents, it is the mark upon the product that establishes origin. So, through relabeling and release the Star Control 2 source code via the title The Ur-Quan Masters, they effectively prevented any kind of confusion about the product's origin. A "Star Control" product indicates an origin from Accolade/Atari/Stardock... "The Ur-Quan Masters" product (presently) indicates an origin from The Ur-Quan Master's project.
Nor is UQM even under attack right now, considering Brad has repeatedly stated UQM is not engaged in commerce. For that matter, the only people actually threatening UQM's legal survival at this point are those of you that want to insist that it is engaged in commerce. Why you guys keep trying to score an own goal here is literally beyond me.
It IS under threat. It DOES NOT matter what Brad says now. It matters what holder of the trademarks decides later. Decisions change along with those who make such decisions. This isn't an own goal, it's establishment of how UQM had relative safety before and how Stardock is threatening that safety two fold by Stardock's interpretations of trademark law and trying to use that as defense of their claims, AND filing for "The Ur-Quan Masters" trademark. Before all this under the common interpretations of trademark law, so long as UQM did NOT misrepresent the origin of its product in a manner that did not cross with the "Star Control" trademark, it was fine. Accolade/Atari did not have the copyrights to Star Control 1 and 2, so they had no claims over the content, just the labeling/branding with the "Star Control" trademark. Hence, why "The Ur-Quan Masters" became the title. And that's the way it has operated since 2002. Now, with Stardock's interpretation of trademark law extending past the mark itself, this puts UQM at high risk where none was before. And Stardock's "The Ur-Quan Masters" trademark filing puts the project under DIRECT high risk.
Before there was no Sword of Damocles over the head of UQM. Now, there's two that Stardock is trying to hang. That's the crux of the problem quite a number of people have with Stardock. If Stardock had stuck with defending strictly the confusion of the "Star Control" trademark and clearing that up... Not many people would be upset. But, the odd trademark filing spree of names and terms that have never been used as trademarks by definition and strange extrapolations of trademark law that I have YET to see anywhere else in any other industry, THAT is what has put people on high alert and turned them away from Stardock.
Seriously, if Stardock's view of trademark law was applicable before their current argument... Wizards of the Coast would have killed Paizo's Pathfinder product line by now with claims that components of Pathfinder are part of Dungeon and Dragon's trademarks. And Daddy Wizards of the Coast WOULD do it if they could with the full help of Granddaddy Hasbro. Also, Games Workshop legal team would have plenty more heads on pikes outside their offices.
UQM uses things that are associated with Stardock's trademark.
Not by anything I have found in my search through trademark law. That's where Stardock's interpretation of the law begins and I have yet to find anything that set that particular precedence.
Incidentally, with respect to other "fan" projects getting shut down on trademark claims, note two things. 1) The majority of those claims were never actually tested in court, few of those projects actually had the warchest to fight the claims in court. 2) The trademark owners that filed the claims still need to have filed their claims on the basis that those projects crossed both lines, confusion and engagement in commerce. If they failed to do so, their claims aren't somehow valid just because the fan project couldn't afford to challenge them, they just weren't challenged.
And that ultimately is the threat to UQM. It doesn't matter if UQM is in the right.. There just won't be any defense possible. One single claim based upon a legal precedence by Stardock's interpretation of trademark law OR Stardock securing "The Ur-Quan Masters" trademark... will be all that's needed to end the project.