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From Bob Dionne <>
Subject Re: Couchbase trademark issues
Date Wed, 14 Mar 2012 09:29:47 GMT

Here's my two cents as a couchdb committer. 

I don't think you (Couchbase) need to do anything. My observation is that there has been more
representation about end-user confusion than there has been actual end-user confusion. In
fact it's now become an assumption. It also strikes me that there is no confusion on the part
of the posters making such representations.

There is no trademark issue. This may be a minority of one legal opinion.

As an aside, thanks for resuming the practice of publishing status reports, I think it helps
inform community members who don't frequent the chat rooms. As a suggestion you might consider
listing the things you'd like to see as accomplishments in the next status report. 


On Mar 13, 2012, at 3:02 PM, Jan Lehnardt wrote:

> On Mar 13, 2012, at 14:52 , Robert Newson wrote:
>> I don't believe any CouchDB committer or PMC member has any interest
>> in changing the project name.
>> I personally feel, as you do, that it's the other products that must
>> clearly distinguish themselves from CouchDB. The company and product
>> called "Couchbase" clearly confuses the community, who reasonably, but
>> erroneously, believe that it's related to CouchDB (the truth, now, is
>> that couchdb is an important but internal component). Sponsoring the
>> "CouchConf" conferences which talks about "Couch NoSQL technology" but
>> also "the Couchbase technology" is similarly confusing, especially as
>> "CouchConf"'s in the past were about Apache CouchDB and things
>> compatible or complementary to it.
>> For my part, the ideal solution would be for Couchbase to rename its
>> product and conferences to not imply that they are about CouchDB, to
>> me that means not using the word 'couch'. I understand that the
>> trademark we hold is on 'Apache CouchDB' and that we cannot assert any
>> rights over the word 'couch', but I don't think anyone can deny that
>> confusion caused is real. Since the Couchbase product is not CouchDB
>> compatible it's surprising that it hasn't been rebranded for marketing
>> reasons already.
> [both hats]: While I agree that, looking solely at a potential confusion
> issue, a rename would be a big step towards avoiding said issue, it is
> also not very practical (as per Shane, things aren't binary) to expect
> Couchbase to change their naming.
> I'd be interested to hear what other measures you think Couchbase could
> take? Feel free to take this to to discuss
> with the PMC as well.
> Cheers
> Jan
> -- 
>> B.
>> On 13 March 2012 04:01, Shane Curcuru <> wrote:
>>> (Whoops! Apologies for mixed up subjects and poor threading; I'm not on
>>> dev@)
>>> I just wanted to add one other comment about this previous note:
>>> James Hayton wrote on Feb 20, 2012:
>>>> Maybe a crazy idea, but since the end result of any legal stuff would
>>>> be somebody changing the name of something, why doesn't Apache
>>>> CouchDB just re brand itself? I mean we need a website makeover,
>>>> etc... Why don't we just ditch the name and come up with something
>>>> better with a new vision, new leadership, etc... Lets put a few
>>>> features in that people have been asking for, include the big couch
>>>> code (clustering), create a new website and call it something
>>>> different. (CouchDB 2.0 Becomes AwesomeDB lol)
>>>> I understand that alot of people have quite a bit invested in the
>>>> name CouchDB, at this may not be something realistic, but this just
>>>> seems like at least another option we should discuss.
>>>> Just my .02.
>>>> James
>>> If the bulk of the Apache CouchDB PMC truly wanted to consider a rename (and
>>> discussed and [VOTE]d on the matter, then we'd certainly help that to
>>> happen.  The PMC *is* who gets to decide the project direction.
>>> But I'm confident that's *not* the case, since several folks have spoken out
>>> against it.  I personally think it would be a really bad idea to change the
>>> CouchDB name - especially since CouchDB is arguably the first project that
>>> gave such brand recognition to the "Couch" name in the noSQL database arena.
>>> In most trademark issues, I'd think more people would ask why the
>>> *follow-on* products don't change their names, rather than the original
>>> product.  But in this case, I'm hoping that the pain of renaming is not
>>> necessary, and we can reduce user confusion by both improving our own story,
>>> as well as asking other Couch-named products to better differentiate
>>> themselves and better give us - this PMC, the committers, and the ASF - the
>>> credit we deserve for building and shipping Apache CouchDB itself in the
>>> first place.
>>> - Shane

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