Google announced the creation of an organization called Open Usage Commons to manage the trademarks of open source projects. According to Google, the use of free and fair open source trademarks is critical to the long-term sustainability of open source projects, but understanding and managing trademarks requires a lot of legal knowledge that the vast majority of project maintainers may not be able to do on their own.
Open Usage Commons is designed to help everyone, from maintainers to downstream users to ecosystem companies, understand the use and management of trademarks.
The first open source projects managed by Open Usage Commons were the Web Application Framework Angular, the web-based team collaboration tool Gerrit, and the open source mesh Istio platform for connectivity management and security of microservices. The first two are Google products, and the last one is a Google and IBM-led project.
IBM issued a statement expressing disagreement with Google’s transfer of Istio’s trademark to Open Usage Commons without community consent or notification, saying it violated the open governance project management model and was inconsistent with their earlier consensus that the Istio project would be placed under THE management of THE CNCF as it matured, and IBM wanted Google to reconsider.