Managing and enforcing trademarks can be difficult for open source projects which is why Google has created a new organization called Open Usage Commons.
Android, Chrome and many other of the search giant’s most important projects are open source. Google’s projects also rely on open source software from other companies and organizations and this is why the company often gives back to the open source community.
Open Usage Commons aims to establish clear guidelines and enforcement procedures for the trademarks that are associated with open source projects as many projects often stumble when it comes to managing their trademarks including their name, logo and other branding.
Trademarks serve as a method of quality assurance for these projects and when properly managed, project maintainers can define their identity, provide assurances about the quality of their offering and give others in the community certainty about the free and fair use of the brand.
Open Usage Commons
To create Open Usage Commons, Google collaborated with academic leaders, independent contributors and SADA systems.
In addition to providing the organization’s initial funding, the company also announced that the trademarks of Angular, Gerrit and Istio will be joining Open Usage Commons.
In a blog post, the Open Usage Commons board provided further details on the new organization’s mission, saying:
“We created the Open Usage Commons because free and fair open source trademark use is critical to the long-term sustainability of open source. However, understanding and managing trademarks takes more legal know-how than most project maintainers can do themselves. The Open Usage Commons is therefore dedicated to creating a model where everyone in the open source chain – from project maintainers to downstream users to ecosystem companies – has peace of mind around trademark usage and management. The projects in the Open Usage Commons will receive support specific to trademark protection and management, usage guidelines, and conformance testing.”