Exact license to solve the Open Source/Closed Standard problem?

Brian Behlendorf brian at collab.net
Tue Sep 28 21:04:27 UTC 2004

On Tue, 28 Sep 2004, Russell McOrmond wrote:
>  I was told the Apache license offered this (and much more, especially
> the required open licensing of patents).  It is, however, not very clear
> in the license:
> http://www.opensource.org/licenses/apache2.0.php
>    6. Trademarks.
>    This License does not grant permission to use the trade names,
>    trademarks, service marks, or product names of the Licensor, except as
>    required for reasonable and customary use in describing the origin of
>    the Work and reproducing the content of the NOTICE file.
>  It may be implied that you can't use the trademark in a derivative, but
> it isn't spelled out in a way that the average developer/company/etc would
> understand that.

In the 1.0 license, it was phrased as "you must not use our marks".  In an 
attempt to bring us closer to being compatible with the GPL and LGPL, we 
changed this in 1.1 to "nothing gives you the right to use".  Thus it was 
changed from an "additional restriction" as defined by the GPL (and thus 
incompatible) to a more passive informational notification.  There was 
much gnashing of teeth about this (and disappointment that the FSF is 
still calling us incompatible for other reasons) but that should give you 
the context.  So far, we have not noticed a change in behavior of 
licensees due to the change of license - that is, no greater incidence of 
abuse of our trademarks, which was our primary concern.

I think the average developer, lawyer, or company executive understands 
that when you tell them "nothing in this license gives you the right to 
use our marks", they should seek some other device or justification for 
using them, or avoid using them.  Coming up with a new name is, 
fortunately, a very easy thing to do.


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