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From Dean Landolt <>
Subject Re: Introducing CouchDB Ltd.
Date Sun, 08 Mar 2009 17:13:20 GMT
On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 11:49 AM, Damien Katz <> wrote:

> Standard disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.
> The name of the official project is Apache CouchDB. I see CouchDB as being
> like Linux, where (as far as I know anyone) is free to use the name. So, IMO
> it is completely fair to name a company CouchDB Ltd. But it also means
> anyone else can name their company CouchDB LLC or The Real CouchDB Ltd. This
> is a bigger problem. You don't have a defensible trademark.

I too am not a lawyer (but it's fun to pretend on the internets)...I have
studied this quite a bit though. And actually, there is a trademark held on
Linux, held by Linus, and it is enforced every so often...

He actually didn't want the mark, and never filed for it, but some prick
swooped in in the mid 90s and registered it, then started suing for
royalties. So eventually he had to swoop in and sue for control over it.
Nobody did much to enforce it until 2005 when they caught some flack for
sending out a bunch of letters demanding money to use the mark, but there
really is a *enforce it or lose it *provision in trademark law. It's all the
wikipedia page...a pretty interesting saga.

Has anyone registered a trademark on CouchDB yet? The Linux saga suggests
it's probably a good idea, and something Apache legal should be able to help
with. That's about the extent of my trademark knowledge, but if I had to
guess I'd say CouchDB Ltd. may be a little *too *close in order for Apache
to keep the mark, or at the very least there should be some sort of
sublicensing agreement and token fee.

Just my two cents -- in any event congrats to the couch ltd team! It's great
to see more folks making money working on what they love, to the benefit of
all of us!

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