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Old   October 13, 2009, 10:20
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Chris Sideroff
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The issue of trademark policy is a gray one at best and it seems to me that OpenFOAM might be overreaching in their enforcement. However, it is their trademark and they can choose to police it how they see fit. And until someone pushes back, this will not change.

To make it unambiguous, I suggest changing the name to something like "Documentation Project for OpenFOAM". This would be clearer and not in violation of the trademark. If this type of use were in violation, then books like "Excel for Dummies" or "Learn Photoshop in 24 hours", we be in the violation as well - which they are not. There are millions of books and websites written that document the use of commercial products.

Out of my own curiosity, could you post the cease-and-desist letter?
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Old   October 13, 2009, 11:08
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnsidero View Post
To make it unambiguous, I suggest changing the name to something like "Documentation Project for OpenFOAM". This would be clearer and not in violation of the trademark.
This is in violation of their trademark policy, which, at point 8 says:

Third Parties must not incorporate the Trade Marks into the names of their goods or services unless they have a specific written agreement or licence from OpenCFD Limited permitting them to do so.

Quote:
If this type of use were in violation, then books like "Excel for Dummies" or "Learn Photoshop in 24 hours", we be in the violation as well - which they are not. There are millions of books and websites written that document the use of commercial products.
Yes. And that's possible because their trademark policies and guidelines allow that kind of use. For example, Microsoft(r) trademark guidelines explicitly allow the use of their trademarks in publications, as long as you recognize them and do not suggest affiliation/endorsement:

http://www.microsoft.com/about/legal...e/general.mspx

ANSYS(r) guidelines are somewhat more restrictive than those from Microsoft:

http://www.ansys.com/ansys_trademark...guidelines.pdf

The usage of their trademarks in publication titles might be OK, but you should ask for their permission to be sure.

Best,
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Old   October 13, 2009, 11:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holger_marschall View Post
[...]
I had to take this step because of the actions that OpenCFD® Limited has enforced against me in person (threat of a cease and desist letter), my university resp. my department (even though this was a private project) and the OpenFOAM® discussion forum (threats of post deletion).
[...]
Hi cnsidero,

to say that very clear: there was the _threat_ of a cease and desist letter from OpenCFD® Limited and to go to court because of this project. Not more, but I think still more important not less!

Please do understand that as a Ph.D. student I could not afford the costs related to such a letter. Therefore I had to prevent me from _further_ damage - I had already hired an attorney because of the first claims that came from OpenCFD® Limited (after which I changed the project name, its logo and domain).

best regards,
Holger
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Old   October 13, 2009, 11:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alberto View Post
This is in violation of their trademark policy, which, at point 8 says:

Third Parties must not incorporate the Trade Marks into the names of their goods or services unless they have a specific written agreement or licence from OpenCFD Limited permitting them to do so.
Alberto,

While I am certainly no trademark expert, I don't believe #8 is enforceable under patent and trademark law. Again, I believe this was written as means to extend the enforcement - whether or not it has any legals ground. But I could be wrong.

In addition, it would seem to me #1 is in contradiction to #8:

Third parties may only use the Trade Marks solely to reference OpenCFD Limited’s software, products and services. Referential use is prohibited if such use would defame or disparage OpenCFD Limited, its products or services.

I.e. Holger's project is referencing OpenFOAM products and not a derivative and obviously would not defame them. However, as a PhD student and no means to legal counsel (although you would think his university has free legal avenues), it is likely too much for Holger to resist their policies, legally enforceable or not, and the argument is moot.
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Old   October 13, 2009, 12:02
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This issue reminds me the problems with Micro$oft, but it seems even worst than Micro$oft , and reflects some attitudes I've seen in the forums. Anyway, Why not using OpenPOAM? All of us know that we are saying... maybe new users must associate it with the brand, but is only a time question. I know it's childish but, it's simple.

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Old   October 13, 2009, 12:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnsidero View Post
Alberto,

While I am certainly no trademark expert, I don't believe #8 is enforceable under patent and trademark law. Again, I believe this was written as means to extend the enforcement - whether or not it has any legals ground. But I could be wrong.

In addition, it would seem to me #1 is in contradiction to #8:

Third parties may only use the Trade Marks solely to reference OpenCFD Limited’s software, products and services. Referential use is prohibited if such use would defame or disparage OpenCFD Limited, its products or services.

I.e. Holger's project is referencing OpenFOAM products and not a derivative and obviously would not defame them. However, as a PhD student and no means to legal counsel (although you would think his university has free legal avenues), it is likely too much for Holger to resist their policies, legally enforceable or not, and the argument is moot.
Point 1 could be read in a broader way to limit the use of the trademark actually, meaning that you can use the tradermark only to reference to their products and services, and not to your own.

No university offers, to my knowledge, free legal support for this kind of initiative, if the initiative itself is not endorsed officially by the same university.

Best,
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Old   October 13, 2009, 12:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santiagomarquezd View Post
This issue reminds me the problems with Micro$oft, but it seems even worst than Micro$oft , and reflects some attitudes I've seen in the forums. Anyway, Why not using OpenPOAM? All of us know that we are saying... maybe new users must associate it with the brand, but is only a time question. I know it's childish but, it's simple.

Regards.
OpenPOAM is not a solution. Again, it would be too easily considered as a derivative or a modification of the trademark. And it would be quite evident too.
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Old   October 13, 2009, 16:09
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Maybe I am being naive/ignorant of how this works, but could you use number 5 to your advantage?

Quote:
Third Parties must not describe themselves as “OpenFOAM developers” unless the work they carry out has been specifically requested by OpenCFD Limited. Where this is not the case, developers working with OpenFOAM technology may only describe themselves as “a developer using OpenFOAM technology”.
"A developer who uses OpemFOAM technology's guide to open source CFD software"
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Old   October 13, 2009, 16:29
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In my understanding, that would be OK for the documents.
But what about the domain name and the project description, which was among the things to change? In other words, how can you have a documentation project of a software without being able to refer clearly to it?
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Old   October 13, 2009, 21:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alberto View Post
In my understanding, that would be OK for the documents.
But what about the domain name and the project description, which was among the things to change? In other words, how can you have a documentation project of a software without being able to refer clearly to it?

To me, the domain name is almost irrelevant as long as it is associated with the project. aka anything generic like "www.cfdguide.com" is fine as long as google/yahoo/bing bring it up when people search 'openfoam help"
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Old   October 14, 2009, 00:12
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To me, the domain name is almost irrelevant as long as it is associated with the project. aka anything generic like "www.cfdguide.com" is fine as long as google/yahoo/bing bring it up when people search 'openfoam help"
I do not think it is not relevant. The trademark policy, if enforced strictly, might be a problem not only for the documentation project but also for other initiatives. It puts in their hands the right to ask for modifications of removal of all contents that, according to them, do not comply with the policy.

So, I think there are three possibilities now:
  1. Discuss with OpenCFD(r) a set of use-cases of the trademark where the consent is granted without asking for permission. This is done by other projects, like openSUSE for example, and it works wonderfully. It actually increased the number of community initiatiatives: some user created openSUSE Education, which after a while has been supported by HP on their machines. Some other user is working on other projects like versions of openSUSE targeting a specific goal (home server, multimedia, ...). This possibility implies that OpenCFD(r) is willing to re-discuss a community-based documentation project, and maybe make a proposal acceptable for them and the community (I would add, without any intention of lacking of respect to who wrote documents on the wiki (I did it too), please do not suggest to complete the wiki. The wiki is OK for notes and short documents, but it is too hard to find material there, especially for new users.). Having a proposal of what OpenCFD(r) consider feasible and acceptable to them would be a good step, and we could fix this mess once for all.
  2. Choose the hard way, and rename the code, and document the renamed code. This is the approach suggested by the Free Software Foundation when I asked what we could do. I do not like it and I consider it an extreme and painful solution, which is however a necessary step if no agreement is possible. It is a mountain of work, and it will be possible only if there is a serious commitment of the community to support it. It would also mean to break the bridge once for all with the official releases, and maintain the code independently and keep developing it. In other words, it will have a serious impact on the community, on its users and also on the code development, since potentially there will be two different codes after a short while. In the end, it would probably have a positive outcome anyway, but the transition can be painful. All of this can be avoided clearly, but it does not depend on the community.
  3. Abandon the documentation project. Well, not really a solution.
At this point it would be nice to have a comment from the developers, whatever it is, so that we can think to how to go on (or not go on).

Disclaimer: OPENFOAM® is a registered trade mark of OpenCFD Limited, the producer of the OpenFOAM® software. This communication is not approved or endorsed by OpenCFD® Limited, the producer of the OpenFOAM® software and owner of the OPENFOAM® and OpenCFD® trade marks.
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Old   October 14, 2009, 03:37
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Nice post Alberto.

I think we are all waiting for the answer of OpenCFD(r) on these points to be able to re-discuss TOGETHER a community-based documentation project.

I encourage everyone (developers, users, ...) to express himself in a constructive way on the subject.

Cheers
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Old   October 14, 2009, 07:43
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I'm curious now.
If the documentation project represents an infringement to the trademark, what about the sourceforge release -dev? Is it not the same situation?

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Old   October 14, 2009, 07:53
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What could we expect from those who named their software The Open Source CFD Toolbox? I think that the solution is in the book by Stallman.

According to Stallman (2004, Chapter 6: Why “Free Software” is Better than “Open Source”):

... Over the years, many companies have contributed to free software development. Some of these companies primarily developed non-free software, but the two activities were separate; thus, we could ignore their non-free products, and work with them on free software projects. Then we could honestly thank them afterward for their free software contributions, without talking about the rest of what they did.

This manipulative practice would be no less harmful if it were done using the term “free software.” But companies do not seem to use the term “free software” that way; perhaps its association with idealism makes it seem unsuitable. The term “open source” opened the door for this.

... The point that he missed is the point that “open source” was designed not to raise: the point that users deserve freedom.

Spreading the idea of freedom is a big job—it needs your help. That’s why we stick to the term “free software” in the GNU Project, so we can help do that job. If you feel that freedom and community are important for their own sake—not just for the convenience they bring—please join us in using the term “free software.

Stallman, R. M. Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman. Boston: GNU Press, 2004.
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Old   October 14, 2009, 08:45
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It is a pity there is no reaction form OpenCFD on this matter.
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Old   October 14, 2009, 16:28
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OpenFoam wiki http://openfoamwiki.net/ is down.

Does it depend on the same reason of the documentation project?
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Old   October 14, 2009, 16:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mighelone View Post
OpenFoam wiki http://openfoamwiki.net/ is down.

Does it depend on the same reason of the documentation project?
Works for me, albeit slow.
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Old   October 14, 2009, 16:36
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yes it's up again for me

Last edited by francois; October 14, 2009 at 16:38. Reason: to fast on this one
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Old   October 14, 2009, 16:43
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OpenFoam wiki http://openfoamwiki.net/ is running... but... Do they have an agreement for using the brand?
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Old   October 14, 2009, 16:59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santiagomarquezd View Post
OpenFoam wiki http://openfoamwiki.net/ is running... but... Do they have an agreement for using the brand?
Now it's working also for me.

The trademark policy of OpenCFD is very restrictive. According to this policy also the wiki need the agreement for using the brand.
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