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Re: Linux trademark and PostgreSQL

From: Chris Travers <chris(at)travelamericas(dot)com>
To: "Joshua D(dot) Drake" <jd(at)commandprompt(dot)com>
Cc: Bruce Momjian <pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us>,PostgreSQL advocacy <pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: Linux trademark and PostgreSQL
Date: 2005-08-19 20:13:53
Message-ID: 43063D81.1040107@travelamericas.com (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-advocacy
Joshua D. Drake wrote:

> Bruce Momjian wrote:
>
>> Many of you might have read this Slashdot item about Linux Mark
>> Institute charging for the use of the Linux trademark by companies:
>>
>>     http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/08/19/1154231&tid=167&tid=106 
>>
>>
>> How do we guarantee to companies promoting PostgreSQL that this will not
>> happen to them?
>
>
> That is a good question. The short answer is that the PostgreSQL 
> Trademark is pretty unenforceable. The long answer is we transfer it to
> a non-profit entity that is in charge of that kind of thing for 
> PostgreSQL.


I don't think that this will cut it.  The short answer is OK in the 
sense that an unprotected trademark is pretty weak (IANAL), but how does 
this prevent something from happening down the road?  What if someone 
attempts to build trademark value at some point (this is really what is 
happening with Linux, and I have no problem with it).

I think that the best answer we can come up with is this:  We need to 
offer a set of clear guidelines for using the trademark.  What do you 
have to do if you want to call your proprietary product PostgreSQL?  
What if you want to call it "Built on PostgreSQL?"

It might be worth hiring a trademark lawyer and see what would be 
required to put out a license that was free of charge and global.  
Something along the lines of:

Uses of the PostgreSQL Trademark:

This license grants you the license to call your product "PostgreSQL" 
provided that you only use community source code and/or contribute your 
changes back to the community.  If you wish to add proprietary 
extensions you must at least add adjectives or your company name to the 
product name.  For example "ACME PostgreSQL" or "PostgreSQL by Example 
Corporation."

Any products marketed as "Built On PostgreSQL" must use as their base 
the community source code and provide compatibility with stock releases.

The idea is to provide recourse against someone who might, for example, 
offer a diluted product, breaking compatibility without letting people 
know, etc.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers
Metatron Technology Consulting

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