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From Jan Lehnardt <>
Subject Re: Couchbase trademark issues
Date Wed, 22 Feb 2012 20:25:52 GMT
Hey all,

Thanks Noah for raising this issue. I talked to Couchbase CEO Bob
Wiederhold about the points raised and we concluded that

- Damien's blog post was his own personal post and Bob tried to clarify
  Couchbase's strong support for and relationship with Apache CouchDB in
  his blog post on our company website:

  Bob and I feel Couchbase is a very positive contributor to the Apache
  CouchDB community and this will continue.

- We have a common goal that we don't want there to be confusion between
  Couchbase and Apache CouchDB. We took some steps to alleviate
  confusion over the last few months and if there is more we can do
  we're very supportive. We strongly believe that a healthy Apache
  CouchDB project benefits everyone and we believe we can play a role in
  ensuring Apache CouchDB remains healthy and strives. CouchDB is a core
  part of our product and we can only be successful if Apache CouchDB

- Couchbase is more than happy to help to remove confusion wherever we
  can. We are starting a review of our website to see if there are
  things that might be confusing that we can improve, and are open to
  suggestions of additional things we can do. And we are happy to
  resolve any issues brought up to us.


On Feb 20, 2012, at 11:52 , Noah Slater wrote:

> Hey,
> A recent thread [1] on the dev list has concerned me quite a lot. What are
> your thoughts? Obviously, we have some image problems to address with our
> own site, but I hope to get to that after the 1.2.0 release. But I am
> concerned that Couchbase may be infringing the CouchDB trademark, and I'm
> wondering what to do about it.
> The ASF trademark policy [2] states that some "uses of another person's
> trademark are nominative fair use, but some uses are simply infringing.
> Indeed, if a trademark is used in such a way that the relevant consuming
> public will likely be confused or mistaken about the source of a product or
> service sold or provided using the mark in question, then likelihood of
> confusion exists and the mark has been infringed."
> Three things seem to be causing this confusion:
>   - Damien works for Couchbase, and has recently abandoned CouchDB.
>   - Damien has publicly announced that he sees Couchbase as "the future of
>   CouchDB."
>   - Couchbase uses the word "Couch" in it's name.
>   - Couchbase ships a backwards incompatible CouchDB-like product.
> Based on the data I have available to me, the combination of these factors
> may be causing people less familiar with the project to assume that CouchDB
> is moribund, and that Damien Katz and the Couchbase company he works for,
> along with their CouchDB-like product suite, are the logical successors to
> CouchDB. I think, therefor, that the use of the word "Couch" in Couchbase
> may be infringing, and that if it were changed, some of this confusion
> might be averted.
> I am prepared to take this to legal, but I wanted some feedback on it first.
> Thanks,
> N
> [1]
> [2]

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