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From Noah Slater <>
Subject Re: Couchbase trademark issues
Date Mon, 20 Feb 2012 23:13:37 GMT
On Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 10:51 PM, Mikeal Rogers <>wrote:

> Being that we tentatively agree that there is no legal recourse it now
> falls on the project, and nobody else, to reduce the confusion that has
> come from the points you mention.

Two problems with this:

1. As someone said to me in private today, "programmers are as confident
about the law as they are ignorant of it." I think, as a group of geeks, we
have our doubts about whether the Couchbase name is infringing. This means
next to nothing though, and I think it may be still prudent to take this to
the VP of Brand to see what more experience people think about it.

2. Just because something is not infringing does not mean that "it now
falls on the project, and nobody else." Laws are made to draw a line in the
sand and say "okay, this behaviour is bad enough that we actually have to
make a law for it." Way, way, before you cross that line, it is assumed
that some degree of common decency comes in to play. In this case, I would
hope that even if the legal wonks within the ASF determine that our
trademark has not been infringed, Couchbase will be MORE than eager to help
us resolve any of the issues around the confusion between the CouchDB brand
and the Couchbase brand. Because that's the decent thing to do.

> Do we really all think that people had a clear picture of what CouchDB was
> before Damien left the project? I won't argue that recent developments have
> worsened the problem but if you want to move forward and solve it you'll
> need to find the source and it's not a website or comments on the creator's
> blog, it's that a shared code base does not equal a shared vision and the
> project has always had a variety of different visions for what it should be.

Yes, I think this is an area we need to work on. I think that most of the
committers broadly agree on the important points. There are some areas of
contention, but one would hope that out of the conflict, we manage to
produce something even better than the original ideas. That's certainly my
experience of productive debate. Diversity is a strength! As long as it is
managed, and stewarded. This sort of "meeting of ideas" is the core of the
Apache way, with consensus driven development as the crucible.

But we should definitely try to pin this down, the core of it, at any rate.

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