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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <dennis.hamil...@acm.org>
Subject RE: apache binary distributions
Date Wed, 19 Aug 2015 15:47:51 GMT
A side matter that has not been raised here.

One reason for protecting a mark is to avoid losing it.

I have worked at two corporations that were necessarily aggressive in protecting the use of
their marks: Univac in various incarnations and Xerox Corporation.

While Google might be happy to see the verbing of its mark, other trademark holders worry
about the inappropriate use of their mark by others.  This is related to the confusion issue
but it is about the mark *becoming* generic and no longer protected.

The famous case of this is apparently "aspirin."  I suspect the makers of Kleenex tissues
have similar concerns but can't do much about what the general public does.  

There are some hyper-active approaches that we know of, especially if your surname is McDonald,
but nevertheless there are two reasons for careful use of a mark and requiring others to use
it carefully: protecting the distinctiveness and protecting against confusion.

I have no information on recent cases and how the US Patent and Trademark folk rule on these
things nowadays.

I suspect the guidelines that go with protecting an ASF-held mark to this degree is over the
line on the fussiness side.  At the OSCON Apache Software Foundation booth, I repeatedly heard
that "I use Apache" or "I love Apache" and it is easy to confirm that they mean the Apache
HTTPD software (or whatever the fussy designation would be).  I don't see any guidance on
how Apache project participants should employ the marks in their writing and speaking. 

The matter of harmful confusion, as gone into at length on this thread, is of course a judgment
call as it would be if a claim of confusion were put before a judge [;<), and it is all
grey in the wide middle.

I think an useful case here would be whether users of "Joe's Maven" found that the Apache
Maven project would not accept their incident reports and there no other recourse, users being
led to believe that the Apache Maven project is responsible for the code that they are using.
 If that is a pattern, that seems like a good trigger for having a heart-to-heart with the
producer of "Joe's Maven" about clearing up the confusion.

 - Dennis


-----Original Message-----
From: Bertrand Delacretaz [mailto:bdelacretaz@apache.org] 
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 06:27
To: Incubator General <general@incubator.apache.org>
Subject: Re: apache binary distributions

On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 10:46 AM, Stephen Connolly
<stephen.alan.connolly@gmail.com> wrote:
> ...Well I actually have concerns about the "maven" that debian is publishing.
> There are some quite significant - in my view - deviations from our Maven.
>
> For me, the majority of the concerns could be addressed if they fix the
> *Description* to clarify that it is a modified distribution of Apache Maven
> *and* they add an ACK to the trademarks in the description of the package...

I agree that this would be a reasonable request.

OTOH I'm not sure about requesting a package name change, if I'm
getting "maven" from a Debian package library it's reasonable to
expect that that package has been built and assembled by Debian, as
it's their core business. But that would be a question for our
trademarks folks.

-Bertrand

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