Open Usage Commons: Trademark Management for Open Source

Google Open Usage Commons logo

Google, in partnership with several institutions, has launched the platform Open Usage Commons. A new organization from which it will help to manage the trademarks of open source projects. In this way, future problems can be alleviated with the use of logos and registered names of these projects used by companies and other entities.

Although there are not so many trademarks within the open-source the truth is that there are frequent problems with the use of those that exist at the moment. That is why it has been created Open Usage Commons. The new organization will guide and manage this whole issue of shareable trademarks in the same way that patents and copyrights can be shared with an open source license.

An example of a registered name is Linux, which is now being managed by Linux Mark Institute or LMI (now in the LF). They are the ones who take care of everything related to that registry on behalf of Linus Torvalds. But in other open source projects there is no such organization and the developers do not know how to answer the questions about the trademarks that are made to them and with Open Usage Commons they could have a help.

In fact, there have already been problems with some who have tried to take advantage of and use the trademarks of Red Hat, Firefox, etc. And it is one thing to use the code that is available through their licenses and quite another to take advantage of a registered trademark ...

However, this Google launch has not been free of controversy. Open Usage Commons seems to have ignored CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation), from where they have been annoyed. Remember that CNCF is a project that is now under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation. As they say, "it never rains to everyone's liking", and this could cause the services offered to be modified. The origin of the problem seems to be in Istio ... we'll see what happens.

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