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From David Crossley <cross...@apache.org>
Subject document: Choosing names for ASF projects
Date Sun, 14 Sep 2008 11:28:14 GMT
I created an initial document about choosing ASF product names.

This attempts to summarise discussion from various lists.
People will recognise their contributions. Thanks.

It is amazing how much time this consumes on general@incubator
and on legal-discuss@ and on various project lists. It seems
that we need a common-sense guidelines doc.

Note that people on prc@ are currently preparing a
separate document to explain "trademark use".

As this "project-names" document concerns "trademarks",
but from a different angle, i have already sought
feedback via the prc@ list asking that people speak up
if they had any concerns, knowing that i was bringing
it here next. Trying to be efficient. No holdups, so:

Now i would like to pass it by this legal-discuss@ group
to be sure that the document is as clear as possible.
Of course we want to focus here on the legal aspects.
Other general tips can wait until my next destination
which is general@incubator, or just dive and patch it.

Choosing names for ASF projects

These are some guidelines for choosing names for projects
and products at the ASF. It is mostly common-sense. There
are two situations: 1) a new project is entering through
the Apache Incubator; 2) an existing project has a new

* "Apache" is our trademark - we don't need to trademark
anything else. The words following "Apache" are descriptive
names of ASF's various products.

* The name will always be prefixed with "Apache". However
in common usage it will get referred to as a single word.
So choose carefully.

* Reduce the likelihood of confusion.

* Trademarks exist by virtue of use, not just registration.

* The fact that a word or phrase is not registered as a
trademark does not necessarily indicate that it is available
for our use. If the mark is used in commerce but not
registered, then we still cannot copy it for our goods.

* Use internet search tools to be sure that there is no
"similar" product, i.e. software for a specific purpose.

* When people conduct an internet search after hearing
about an ASF project, they will use some technical terms
and a name.  We want to appear near the top and not get
confused with someone else in the same technical space.

* Even if a product name cannot be found via a search,
if you are aware that it is being used for a similar
product then we cannot use it.

* Choose a name that is easily remembered and not difficult
to spell.

* Consider using functional names, especially for products
of existing projects, e.g. for an "Apache Foo" project,
the product name "Apache Foo Pipelines".

* Be good citizens.

* Choose a sensible name early in a product's development,
e.g. before mailing lists, package names, etc. Better to
spend time now - your project will not want to change its
product's name later.

* See this as an important marketing opportunity, rather
than a bother.

* By carefully validating the uniqueness of our chosen
names and clearly establishing first use in the field,
we reduce the chances of future confusion.

* See also trademark FAQ [http://apache.org/foundation/licence-FAQ.html#Marks]
  and [FIXME: Link to any related PRC docs].


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