Google launches Open Usage Commons, to manage trademarks of open source projects

Google has partnered with several institutions to launch Open Usage Commons, a new organization that would help open source projects manage their trademarks.

In this sector there are many commercial entities that want to use the logo or the name of an open source in their projects, and that is something that can generate legal problems in the future.

Currently there are not many trademarks in open source software, but when one becomes very popular, problems can start to appear.

An exception in this world is Linux, a trademark that is now managed by the Linux Mark Institute on behalf of Linus Torvalds, but generally that is not the case. Typically, commercial companies are not sure how to handle this situation, and developers don’t even know how to respond to these companies when they are asked about their trademarks.

This new organization will provide guidance on how you can share trademarks in the same way that you would share patents and copyrights in an open source license. They will provide guidance and may include data in the source code to protect themselves.

For starters, Google is placing three of its own open source trademarks in this new organization: the Angular web application framework for mobile devices, the Gerrit code review tool, and the Istio services mesh, now trademarked, logos and even a pet.

This move by Google has already caused controversy. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) said they are perplexed that Google has chosen not to take them into account, so there may be modifications to the services offered.

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