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From Benoit Chesneau <>
Subject Re: Couchbase trademark issues
Date Mon, 20 Feb 2012 18:32:44 GMT
On Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM, 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]

So I'm maybe the only independent around, working for myself in the
project and free from any duty. Since a long time I wanted to put this
topic on the place. This thing is not new, just became more public
recently due to the impact of damien's posts and like Sam Bisbee
noticed, lot of people I talked before was talking about that.

So there maybe copyright infringements on  :

- couchbase name (couch base or couch db ... too similar imo)
- the couchconf event ? any more planned ? how can we call independent
events from the apache couchdb project (I would love something
organized under the apache foundation btw)
- the trademark couchsync. Which is problematic because some where
using this term for the couch replication. (It also means that we
can't use this term easily any more) .

Also what about the websites couch.* , ?

Now that I said that, I'm agree on what have been told before. While
we should fix it at some points (it's worthless to have a brand if
it's not to make sure it's used) , I think we should see it first with
couchbase, how it can be solved between gentlemen.

To be honest I would have preferred like I said on IRC that this stuff
would have been discussed first with couchbase privately before going
public and even better we could have asked for advice inside the
foundation apache before doing anything. Too late unfortunately. We
could still ask on legal@ but i find it a little rude to say less.

Also like someone said, best way to enforce a trademark is to make it
distinct from the other (technically, doc, website, ...) but I think
things above should be solved too.

- benoît.

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