Use of "open source"

Rod Dixon roddixon at
Wed Jan 3 23:01:22 UTC 2007

Interestingly enough, yesterday, the United States PTO issued a  
and the accompanying service mark graphic, which will signal the  
"Promotion of computer software which is distributed under agreements  
meeting certain requirements for distribution and redistribution of  
the software"  OSI's lawyers filed the service mark application.     
The logo graphic is not the current certification logo.

Rod Dixon

On Jan 3, 2007, at 5:11 PM, Brendan Scott wrote:

> Matthew Flaschen wrote:
>> DShofi at wrote:
>>> While I agree that license proliferation makes it harder to  
>>> consolidate
>>> code bases and determine license compatibility and while I  
>>> understand the
>>> usefulness of the OSI certification mark program, it seems that  
>>> the OSI is
>>> in no position to restrict anyone's labelling and use of a  
>>> license as
>>> "open source" that satisfies all of the definitional  
>>> characteristics even
>>> if it is not OSI approved.
>> No, it's not in such a position.  As I've said before on this list,
>> "open source" is not trademarked.  Thus, anyone *can* use it to  
>> describe
>> anything.  However, that doesn't mean it's *right* to do so.  I think
>> OSI, and most everyone in the open source community, would prefer the
>> term "open source" only be used with OSI-approved licenses.   
>> Determining
>> what meets OSD is after all very subjective, and it is OSI's primary
>> purpose.
> If you are selling oranges by mail order but you are advertising  
> them as lemons (neither of which is a registered trademark btw) the  
> buyer will have a right of action against you.  The question is  
> whether "open source" has a meaning, not whether it is trademarked.
> In Australia third parties who suffer no loss would also have  
> standing to sue you under consumer protection laws.
> Brendan

More information about the License-discuss mailing list