Use of "open source" in website name

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at
Fri Jun 13 10:24:06 UTC 2008

"Champagne" is protected: it is invalid as a protected trademark because it
is a region name; it could only be used as a generic term related to the
geographic origin; however, you won't be able to create a perfume named
"Champagne" or smelling like Champagne because the protection of the bubble
wine still covers all its aspects: not just its taste or aspect or color or
use as a drink variety, but also its derived uses. There are effectively
derived products using true Champagne wines in their composition.
The same could be said about Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Camembert and many other
"origin appellations" used in France, but also other appellations used in
all regions of Europe (the Italian "Chianti", the Swiss "Gruyère", the Greek
"Feta", the English "Sheddar", the Scottish "Whiskey"...)
Note: "origin appellations" are now recognized officially in Europe, and
there was also an international agreement limiting the right to reuse these
appelations in other products or labels. This protection takes the form of a
registered definition of the designation name, and it works exactly like a
trademark. Most of them are effectively protected by a trademark registered
by some professional unions (that have a official legal identity) that have
defined quality labels with strict requirements recognized and protected by
law: they don't want any use of the protected designation in other more or
less related products because it would fade out this designation, and
there's apparently no limit if some other use is left permitted.
Open sourced products should really avoid all reuse of protected
designations in their own name, otherwise it will severely limit the
reusability of the product (which could even become illegal in some
countries and could expose its authors or users to payment of damages).
If you're not convinced, just look why some PC maker is building notebooks
named "Ferrari": they are certainly not automotive products (except the
vague association with speed, which is not a speed on road but processing
"speed" that is not related to any movement or consumption of gasoline by
its "engine"!), but they still feature the red color and name under licence
from the car maker. And you'll pay the price for it on your PC! This is
certainly not an open sourced PC...
There's now a very large commerce about the use of trademarks in unrelated
products. This is called "co-branding" and it's full of legal protections.


De : Cinly Ooi [mailto:cinly.ooi at] 
Envoyé : jeudi 12 juin 2008 19:11
À : John Cowan
Cc : Beth; license-discuss at
Objet : Re: Use of "open source" in website name

my $0.02:

Combining the word "Open" + "Source" does not necessary have to mean
software.  I am sure most people does not have problem with "Open Source
Cola". It's around for many years.

I personally do not see anything wrong with calling a perfume "Champagne"
since there is no confusion with the bubbly variety. But I live in Europe
and it is the law here.


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