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From Noah Slater <nsla...@tumbolia.org>
Subject Couchbase trademark issues
Date Mon, 20 Feb 2012 10:52:19 GMT
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] http://s.apache.org/g0N

[2] http://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/

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