There are some third rails in every community ... things that people are reluctant to discuss. Joomla's move to a GPL license was one of those, and I think we did a reasonable job of openly talking about the issues and implications.
This week, I'm going to attempt to touch another third rail: Joomla's trademark.
Today, Joomla's trademarks for its name and logo were accepted and published. This week, I'll attempt to answer questions about what this means for Joomla and for people running Joomla sites. This first post lays out facts about the trademarks:
What Has Been Trademarked?
1. The name "Joomla!" as it refers to "Downloadable software for the creation, integration, publication, management, and maintenance of content, namely, text, documents, audio, and video." The name was first used on September 5, 2005.
2. The Joomla! logo
What Was The Trademark Timeline?
The whole process took over a year:
* July 12, 2007 - Application submitted
* April 2, 2008 - Approved for publication
* May 20, 2008 - Published for opposition
* August 5, 2008 - Registered
How Does Joomla's Trademark Compare to Wordpress and Drupal?
It is normal for Open Source projects to trademark their brand. Judging by the example of other projects such as Wordpress and Drupal, Joomla's trademarks are close to the accepted standard. The one major difference is that in the holders are very different:
* Wordpress' name and logo trademarks are held by Automattic Inc, a private corporation in California.
* Joomla's name and logo trademarks are held by Open Source Matters, a non-profit corporation in New York.
* Drupal's has two trademarks for its name. Both are held solely by Dries Buytaert, Drupal's founder from Belgium. The second, more wide-ranging application is still pending.
Can Drupal and Wordpress' Use of Their TM Help Us Understand How Joomla May Use Theirs?
Drupal doesn't have a formal policy although in November last year, Dries said he was working on one. The Drupal logo is licensed under the GPL.
Wordpress recommends that no-one use "Wordpress" in domain names.They suggest using "WP" instead. Wordpress has sent out some very polite emails asking people to stop using "Wordpress" in their domains which has led to a pretty informative discussion and this comment:
"The biggest problem is that Wordpress for at least the last year have been very slow in providing official information and "terms of service" for their products."
This is similar to Joomla, which is playing catch-up after not restricing the use of its name during its first three years. I couldn't find any guidance regarding use of the Wordpress logo.
Overall, both Drupal and Wordpress are admirably clear in some areas but still lack in policies in others.
Later this week I'll address possible solutions and outcomes. Finally, I hope these posts can lead to constructive discussion, so I'll closely moderate unhelpful comments.