Joint Consulting Partner SADA Systems and many academic leaders today announced the creation of Open Usage Commons to help open source project management its trademarks. “The trademark issue has become increasingly prominent over the past few years,” says Chris DiBona, Google’s director of open source. Typically, there are not many trademarks involved in open source software. But more and more trademarks are being used at Google, as well as in higher-level, more popular open source projects. “
And the existing open source licensing more focus on copyright and patents, trademarks are often ignored by many people. Even Apache licenses are largely out of context. Traditionally, open source licenses do not cover trademarks because there are not many trademarks in the ecosystem that need to be worried. One exception here is Linux, a trademark now managed by the Linux Mark Institute on behalf of Linus Torvalds.
DiBona explains: “What we want to do is to focus on how to license open source in the same way as to share patents and copyrights. . . The idea of sharing a trademark is basically to provide this kind of guidance, you know, to provide trademark documents that, if you like, can be included in your source code. “
Google itself is putting its three open source trademarks into the new organization: the mobile Angular Web Application Framework, the Gerrit Code Review Tool, and the Istio Service Grid. “All three of them are a bit of a fit for this kind of experiment because they’re actively developing at Google, they have trademarks associated with them, they have logos and, in some cases, mascots.”
One of the mascots is Diffi, full name Kung Fu Code Review Cuckoo. As DiBona points out, “We’re trying to figure out the worst mascot literally.” The trademark is now managed by an open-use shared organization.