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From Randall Leeds <randall.le...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: Couchbase trademark issues
Date Mon, 20 Feb 2012 21:36:18 GMT
Sorry for the top post but I want to respond to several points quickly.

* I think talking to CouchBase directly is a great idea. However, if I were
at CouchBase I would want to jump into this thread and take this issue head
on with civility lest it finds itself on my desk with letterhead.
* I do think there is confusion and it's not just the fault of a bad
project website.
* I do not think this was malicious on the part of... anyone, really.
* I think asking the ASF trademark people for advice is prudent.
* We are a community project, public is what we do. Asking legal for advice
or openly discussing on this list the possibility to take this up formally
with CouchBase is right and good. Noah was not leveling fingers, he was
being up front and reasonable to start this thread. If CouchDB approaches
CouchBase it only makes sense after public discussion and under the
guidance and approval of the ASF.
* Oh, and I'm also not employed to work on CouchDB at this time, so bump
that independent committer count for those keeping score.

Now... relax. Noah, +1 on asking trademark advice and thoughts on the
thread from legal. Thank you for conducting this thread so well.

-Randall (tilgovi)
On Feb 20, 2012 2:52 AM, "Noah Slater" <nslater@tumbolia.org> 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] http://s.apache.org/g0N
>
> [2] http://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/
>

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