PMCs are directly responsible for promoting and protecting their project's
brand and trademarks within the ASF-wide Trademark policies. This document
is an overview of PMC responsibilities with pointers to specific policies
or procedures PMCs must follow.
Podlings (PPMCs) must liaise with the Incubator PMC prior to taking an external action (such as emailing an external party). The Incubator PMC may loop in trademarks@.
- PMCs Are Responsible For Their Brand
- Ensure Project Websites Treat Trademarks Appropriately
- Present An Independent Face To Your Project
- Address Improper Third Party Uses Of Apache Marks
- Report Trademark Issues To Brand Management
- Report Compliance With Brand Policy To The Board
- Other Trademark Guidelines
- Important Note
- Policy Version
This document defines the board's expectation that PMCs manage their own project's brand: how the project displays its own brand in public and responds to obvious uses of the project's brand by third parties, and to comply with the Apache Trademark Policy. The Apache Software Foundation owns all Apache™ marks, and administers them on behalf of all Apache projects. PMCs are expected to actively manage their project's brand, and to ask for assistance from Brand Management or Legal Affairs when necessary.
Questions? Please contact the trademarks@ list with general questions. This document is focused on members of all Apache PMCs, and is probably best read in conjunction with the Apache Project Branding Requirements defining the details of how projects should treat and display trademarks, and with the PMC Guide which covers other, non-brand related details of PMC membership.
PMCs Are Responsible For Their Brand
Much like PMCs are stewards of their communities and project code, PMCs are also responsible for managing their own project's brand. This includes all the obvious aspects of a brand: the project's name and logo; the display of the main project website; the appearance and functionality of their product. Much of the work that PMC members do improving code, updating the website, and promoting their product to help bring more users and developers into their community also helps to maintain the brand, or overall public expectation of the quality and functionality of the project.
While the Apache License encourages third parties to use our code, it does not permit third parties to use any Apache trademarks in ways that would harm any Apache projects or communities or that would confuse consumers as to the true source of Apache software. In particular, section 6 of the Apache License 2.0 notes:
- Trademarks. This License does not grant permission to use the trade names, trademarks, service marks, or product names of the Licensor, except as required for reasonable and customary use in describing the origin of the Work and reproducing the content of the NOTICE file.
PMCs need to be aware of their brand, and should work to ensure that when the public hears about their project - for example, Hadoop - that the main association is to the actual Apache Hadoop project itself, and not to a third party or other organization besides Apache.
Managing your brand requires a little extra thought than most activities
at Apache. When managing your code and supporting your community, you are
primarily focused inwards; i.e. on people who are already aware of and
participating in your project. Managing a brand is about working to ensure
that people who are outside of your community associate your brand and
name with the project itself. Take a minute to think about how a newcomer
sees your project when they view the homepage for the very first time. The
next time you read news coverage of your project or of the technology behind
it, consider how a newcomer will see your project's name, and its relationship
to other companies and technologies.
Ensure Project Websites Treat Trademarks Appropriately
PMCs are directly responsible for ensuring all of their project's web content complies with the Apache Project Branding Requirements. It is important to ensure that Apache displays its project names and logos properly as trademarks, so that third parties will know our brands are important to us. It's also important to treat other organization's trademarks or service marks with respect, and attribute them if you use them on an Apache project website.
The "Apache™" trademark as a symbol of our high quality, community built software is an important one to all Apache projects, and to the Foundation itself. Be sure to use it properly on apache.org websites, especially in relation to Apache projects and products.
Present An Independent Face To Your Project
Part of the Apache Way is the concept of hats - when PMC members do work on Apache lists, they are expected to act as individuals, wearing their PMC hat; i.e. on behalf of their PMC's project, and not influenced by other parties. Likewise, it is important that your project as a whole is run independently of commercial influence, and presents the public perception that the project is run independently. There should be no question in the minds of average users on the website or the mailing lists that the project is run solely by the PMC, and not by any other organizations.
Projects must ensure that their average user can find all information and code necessary to use the product in its common use cases solely on the project's own website. A normal user should be able to learn about the product from the project's own materials, and must be able to use the product solely under the Apache License or other Apache Legal Affairs approved licenses in software that is distributed from this or other Apache projects.
Projects must not endorse or promote the work of third parties, nor allow
third party influence to affect the future of the project for specific outside
Note that per-project Thanks and Support pages are allowed to recognize
specific vendors who have donated services or licenses to the project, or who
are well-known vendors who provide outside support for the project. However
these must be factual entries, not advertisements, and must not show favoritism
to any particular vendor(s). (Note: further details on how to structure and
manage Thanks and Support pages will be provided)
Address Improper Third Party Uses Of Apache Marks
PMCs are responsible for addressing any infringing use of their project's marks by third parties. The PMC must work to contact potentially infringing parties to ask them to respect Apache marks and attribute them to the ASF. In many cases, a friendly note reminding a third party that Apache project names are our trademarks, and they are important to us is sufficient to get third parties to respect our marks. The Apache Trademark Reporting Guidelines may be helpful in deciding how to contact third parties.
Contact trademarks@ for suggested email templates to use in first contacting
third parties, or if there is any difficulty in having the PMC make the first
contact. Templates are available at svn.apache.org/repos/private/committers/brand
PMCs are expected to manage this process. If a third party does not respond favorably to the PMC's requests, or responds in a hostile or legalistic manner, please report to Brand Management.
As stewards of their project and those most familiar with their technology, PMCs are the best group to understand their brand's uses within the greater marketplace. However, PMCs are not authorized to license infringing uses of their brand(s) to third parties without explicit approval from the VP, Brand Management.
Report Trademark Issues To Brand Management
In cases where there is a significant legal issue, or where the efforts of the
PMC (and especially the project chair and VP, as an officer of the ASF) are
not successful, the PMC should work with VP, Brand Management to get assistance.
Please address trademark and legal questions to the correct lists:
General or hypothetical legal questions that are not about private matters should be sent to the legal-discuss@ publicly archived mailing list.
Specific requests for legal advice from ASF counsel on matters relating to any Apache project, or for legal questions that should not be made public, should be sent to the legal-internal@ privately archived mailing list.
General questions about trademarks, or about Apache branding policies, should be sent to the privately archived trademarks@ list.
Reminder: in any cases where a third party's legal counsel contacts a PMC,
please ensure the PMC works with legal-internal@ to get advice from
ASF Counsel on any response.
Report Compliance With Brand Policy To The Board
All PMCs are required to report their final compliance with the Apache Project Branding Requirements in a board report. If your project has not yet reported compliance with all items in the checklist, including a recognition of this set of PMC responsibilities to handle brand issues, then you must include your current status in future board reports until your project is compliant.
Much like complying with Apache legal policy to ensure that our software is safely covered under our license, projects must follow the branding requirements to ensure that our projects' brands - and public reputations - are maintained for the future benefit of all of Apache projects.
Other Trademark Guidelines
For more information about Apache marks, please see our formal Trademark Policy.
Nothing in this ASF policy statement shall be interpreted to allow any third party to claim any association with the Apache Software Foundation or any of its projects or to imply any approval or support by ASF for any third party products, services, or events.
This is version 1.0 of this Apache policy document, published in May 2011.
Significant changes will be marked with a new version number.