[zeromq-dev] Trademark policy for 0MQ

Pieter Hintjens ph at imatix.com
Thu May 12 21:00:29 CEST 2011

On Thu, May 12, 2011 at 7:18 PM, Martin Sustrik <sustrik at 250bpm.com> wrote:

> 1. The trademarks are meant to protect the community from hostile takeover.

Ack. There are several levels this operates on, including the wire
level protocols.

> 2. Separating trademark-covered (ZeroMQ) and non-trademark-covered names
> (zmq) doesn't make sense. We should extend the current list of trademarks
> with "zmq". (The company named ZMQSoft doesn't seem to claim the trademark.)


> 3. Naming bindings using "zmq" postfix is for consistency's sake and has
> nothing to do with trademarks.


> 4. Trademarks can be owned only by a legal entity, such as a person or a
> firm. There's no such thing as community-owned trademark.

Nor community-owned copyright, domain name, etc.

> 5. The trademarks are currently owned by iMatix. Given that iMatix is a
> commercial entity, ownership of trademarks on behalf of community can be a
> bit delicate. There's still an option to pass to ownership to some
> foundation, such as spi (owns trademarks for debian, libreoffice etc.)

To be honest, the trademarks represent non-trivial value to iMatix and
it would be hard to literally give them away. This is not really an
option, though it's one I've considered. There would have to be
compelling reasons (e.g. real dysfunction that puts the community at
risk), and it'd have to include the domain names.

> 6. Whoever owns the trademarks on behalf of the community, there still have
> to be a governance process to manage those trademarks.

Not quite what I meant.

The governance process is to manage what falls under whatever grant
iMatix makes. In my initial proposal, the grant covers any project
held under the ZeroMQ organization at github.com, and the community
manages this organization. I'd expect over time that this ad-hoc
organization (Martin and I basically act as benevolent dictators) will
need formalization, voting structures, etc. One option we thought
about a long time ago was to give language binding authors a strong
vote, but really as long as the ZeroMQ space remains open and
transparent, we're not going to see problems IMO.

The usual risk is, by experience, some clumsy large firm deciding to
"invest" in 0MQ, putting 10 developers on it, and ruining every thread
and project with endless arguing. There are a bunch of solutions, but
the best seems to be to allow each project to accept or reject
contributors as it pleases.

> 7. Pieter proposes to pass the governance to github "zeromq" organisation
> admins. The problem IMO is binding the governance model to the 3rd party
> (github).

Indeed, but this will work for the interim. We should abstract and
formalize what it means to become an "official" ZeroMQ project (i.e.
accepted by the community). The rules for this should be written down
and enforced by benevolent dictatorship, backed by consensus.

> As I side note, Daisuke offered his help in case we ever need to register
> the trademarks in Japan.

:-) It's always been a pleasure to be able to say, "the ZeroMQ
community is strong in Japan"...


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