Google and The Linux Foundation want to help open source projects manage their trademarks

Google and The Linux Foundation want to help open source projects manage their trademarks

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Google and The Linux Foundation have been two major players in the open-source software community. Now, the two are independently committing to help open source projects manage their trademarks effectively and judiciously. Google has announced a new foundation called Open Usage Commons along with academicians and industry partners, while The Linux Foundation has reiterated its support for fair open source licensing and trademark ownership via its Project Hosting program.

The efforts from both groups emphasize independent and neutral ownership of a trademark by a community instead of a single company or stakeholder. This is because trademarks such as a logo, badge, or even the name of the project are often hallmarks of quality and must be used wisely and consistently. Open Usage Commons and The Linux Foundation wish to standardize the process of using—or reusing—trademarks while also partaking in conformance testing of the open source forks.

google open source usage commons

Open Usage Commons will also extend legal assistance and provide knowledge to users and distributors of the open source code. The primary objective is to educate coders that an open source license is distinct from the trademark. Open Usage Commons will also ensure that the usage of a trademark is neutral, consistent, and clearly conveys the “acceptable uses” of the licensed code. In the beginning, Angular (an online platform to build web and mobile apps), Gerrit (an online team collaboration tool for code management), and Istio (an open platform for managing microservices), are joining Open Usage Commons. If you also want your project to be maintained by the organization, you can email [email protected].

Meanwhile, The Linux Foundation is providing support for hosting open source projects, offering services as “the neutral owner of the core assets and accounts for projects including domains, online service accounts (e.g. GitHub, Twitter, etc), and trademarks.” Contributions to the code of any open source project are owned by the contributor and licensed to The Linux Foundation under the Contributor License Agreement. The Foundation also provides admin, IT, and marketing support for projects along with helping maintainers get new training or funding. To host your project under The Linux Foundation, click on this link.


Source 1: Google Open Source blog | Source 2: The Linux Foundation blog