Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Small OSS Library Project Battles US Corporation

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the what's-in-a-name dept.

Open Source 118

New submitter abesottedphoenix writes "The rural library responsible for the first open source library catalogue is under attack from defence contractor PTFS. More than a decade after rolling out Koha (which we've discussed in the past), they now find themselves in a battle to keep a generic Maori term within the public domain. The story is also covered at Radio NZ. "

cancel ×

118 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

FFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38142988)

I for one note the correct spelling of the word 'Maori' and find this site grinding at my roots up to my boots in incompetence!!

Re:FFS (2)

NZKiwi (317525) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143862)

I for one note the correct spelling of the word 'Maori' and find this site grinding at my roots up to my boots in incompetence!!

I don't think he misspelled Maori deliberately - I've submitted one of the dupes to this story - the Slashdot editing/preview ate the a-macron in Maori and displays it as Mori instead; so I expect abesottedphoenix did the same thing.

Re:FFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38145072)

+1 for rhyme? I find it funny spelling can be overseen by admins and thought the hurt I felt should be achknowledged

generic Mori? (1, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38142994)

Am I confused today, or did you mispell Maori?

That said, Trademark only applies in a specific field. If whoever it is has a Trademark for anything other than a library, his trademark in no way impacts the small library in question...

Re:generic Mori? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143064)

I know it is pointless to say - but RTFA. PTFS wants the trademark for their fork of the library software.

Re:generic Mori? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143142)

Maybe RTFA yourself; it says no such thing.

Re:generic Mori? (3, Informative)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143206)

No?

However, the trust says an American company named LibLime has hijacked the system and wants to use it for its own private client base.

The company has also been granted provisional rights to the name Koha by the Ministry of Economic Development.

"We did something really good and we gave it away to the world and it's been a glorious thing globally for 12 years," the trust's head of libraries, Joann Ransom, told Radio New Zealand.

"And now this American corporate wants to take it."

Re:generic Mori? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38146278)

Well maybe PTFS should get the fuck off and find their own name instead of trying to be the big fat assed foul smelling bullys all it boils down to is the original name is already a known name so they want to hijac it to save them the job of publicity freakin tossers

Re:generic Mori? (2, Funny)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143320)

They would have spelled the term correctly, but to do so violates someones trademark on the term "M-a-o-r-i"

Re:generic Mori? (2)

polymeris (902231) | more than 2 years ago | (#38144236)

Not even "Māori" displays correctly. How come slashdot still doesn't support non ASCII characters? At this point it is probably more of a tradition thing than difficulty of implementation, right?

Re:generic Mori? (1)

DMFNR (1986182) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145512)

Posting to cancel wrong moderation.

Mori? (4, Insightful)

ratguy (248395) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143010)

I think you mean Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand.

Re:Mori? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143078)

Of course there are no Maoris on slashdot.

Re:Mori? (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143278)

There may well be Maoris on Slashdot. You can't see tattoos over the Internet. Now, there are probably no Moa on Slashdot and I hope there are no Keas (they're terrorists, I tell you!), but that's ok, there are enough bird-brains as it is. I have great respect for the Maori and it is intensely sad that I lost all of my mementos from my year in New Zealand after a storage place fire.

Back to the issue at hand. It is completely reprehensible that a "common word" (because it IS a common word in New Zealand) can be trademarked at all. That is not acceptable, in and of itself. It is a flagrant abuse of the system, relying on the fact that Americans are not very up on foreign cultures. I am increasingly of the opinion that words should not be trademarkable at all. A "trademark" is, after all, first and foremost a mark. From the Sumerians to the Victorian English, this has been a stamp, a unique symbol that denotes the origin and guarantees authenticity. Arguably, the seals produced by stamps and signet rings serve the same function.

You can always make a new symbol. Creativity is endless. But you can't create a new language every time foreigners decide to trademark words from it.

Re:Mori? (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143440)

He might have been referencing Father Ted with that line (Of course there are no Maoris on Craggy Island).

Re:Mori? (3, Insightful)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145168)

Apple is a common word, in the USA. Apparently you CAN trademark common words.

Re:Mori? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145984)

Which, IMHO, is utterly wrong, completely in violation of the spirit of what a trademark is and probably in technical violation of the written law but IANAL.

Re:Mori? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38150284)

No, it's not. But don't worry, it's pretty danged clear that you're not informed about the purpose of trademarks, much less actually a lawyer.

Re:Mori? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38152238)

Not in New Zealand you can't. Although apparently that only applies to little people.

Re:Mori? (4, Funny)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143298)

Maybe he means Moria, the abandoned home of the Dwarves.

Re:Mori? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143920)

No No, he means Mario that Italian plumber that jumps on turtles.

Re:Mori? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147388)

No no... he means Boatmurdered where the dwarves were obsessed with cheese, talking with dwarves, and the killing of dwarves by pachyderms.

Re:Mori? (0)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146536)

It's spelled "Mario". The indigenous peoples of New Zealand are a proud race with a noble history of cannibalism and plumbing.

thank you, summary makes no sense (2, Interesting)

richlv (778496) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143066)

ok. usually i can understand /. summary immediately. sometimes i have to read the article. sometimes i have to do some extra research.

but this summary just does it - it makes so much "no sense" that i have no fucking idea what is it about and i'm just going to skip the topic.

Re:thank you, summary makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143682)

Thanks for letting us know. It was the top concern on our minds.

"Microsoft Jailbreaks OSS Bitcoin MAFFIA " (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143772)

but this summary just does it - it makes so much "no sense" that i have no fucking idea what is it about

Like Google News, Slashdot doesn't have an editor. You wand your submission accepted, all you need to do is hit ther geek's hot buttons in your headline.

Re:thank you, summary makes no sense (5, Informative)

nadaou (535365) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143786)

> but this summary just does it - it makes so much "no sense" that
> i have no fucking idea what is it about and i'm just going to skip
> the topic.

which is real a shame, because what is happening is nasty, evil, theft (in the correct IP usage of the term) from a long established volunteer community by newly arrived greedy corporate. Or just take a moment to listen to the linked 2 minute mp3?

here is the real project's "about" page: http://koha-community.org/about/ [koha-community.org]

"Koha" is a Maori word meaning gift (often in a quid quo pro sense). Note that Wikipedia lists it as a custom. It is a truly wonderful name for a GPL'd project for the public good.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koha_(custom) [wikipedia.org]

read the mailing list plea from the librarian here:
http://lists.nzoss.org.nz/pipermail/openchat/2011-November/008940.html [nzoss.org.nz]

a blog post:
http://news.tangatawhenua.com/archives/14545 [tangatawhenua.com]

and the thread that follows.
http://lists.nzoss.org.nz/pipermail/openchat/2011-November/thread.html#8943 [nzoss.org.nz]

favourite quote from the ensuing thread:

Oh, and that you can't win a Wikipedia fight against librarians.

listen to more audio from NZ public radio than what's in the /. submission here:
(Scroll down to the Ogg @ 9:44 am)
http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon [radionz.co.nz]

The project was founded by a small country town library in 1999 when the Y2K bug was taking out their existing solution and they couldn't afford to buy another one. Since then it has grown to be a large and wonderful FOSS success story. Until last year, when an associated company that held the domain name and provided commercial support got bought out by a big corporate bully, who took ownership of the DNS and domain name, taken over the home page, obfuscated links to and existence of the community (which has had to rush out and register http://koha-community.org/ [koha-community.org] instead of their original koha dot org site), and now are trying to block the community from being able to use their own name, on their own turf. It seems that Liblime has grabbed the trademark already in the US; the original koha-community.org group after they got over their shock was able to get in first in the EU, but not Liblime (a US company) has moved in to grab it in the community's home country of New Zealand.

PTFS/Liblime's actions here are truly despicable, and if I were a customer I'd have to wonder if they are willing to screw over the people who built up the project from nothing, what is stopping them from screwing me over too?

Please visit the Koha-community.org [koha-community.org] site, read the plea: http://koha-community.org/plea-horowhenua-library-trust/ [koha-community.org]

and help out their non-existent legal fund with a small donation:
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=FQ6JH3L48LV5Y [paypal.com]
(your dollar goes far here; they are a registered legal non-profit, paypal's freezing of funds typically happens to unregistered projects who are basically ignoring tax laws, so they should be safe from that)

written article here:
http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/91830/lawyer-labels-overseas-trademark-of-'koha'-offensive [radionz.co.nz]

Re:thank you, summary makes no sense (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38144328)

Wow - there has to be an easier way to explain this. A two three sentence summary perhaps? Like what the problem was before, what great thing was conceived of and what the threat currently is...

Re:thank you, summary makes no sense (5, Informative)

theVarangian (1948970) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145258)

Wow - there has to be an easier way to explain this. A two three sentence summary perhaps? Like what the problem was before, what great thing was conceived of and what the threat currently is...

Hmmm... simple... let me try.

  1. 1) Once upon a time a small rural library could not afford to upgrade their library management software due to a nasty bug.
  2. 2) The small rural library then got the bright idea to set up a FOSS project aimed at creating a free alternative library management software system and named it Koha.
  3. 3) The Koha library management software project became a big FOSS success.
  4. 4) Due to a variety of reasons the homepage and domains of the Koha project were taken over by a bunch of US American corporate weasels called PTFS.
  5. 5) The US corporate weasels then started a campaign aimed at convincing the world that they have taken over the Koha project and are the only legitimate source of Koha software and support. Basically they are trying to hijack the Koha project.
  6. 6) This campaign by PTFS has now gone so far that they have trademarked the word Koha. in New Zealand for no other reason than to deny it's use to the Koha foundation.

Re:thank you, summary makes no sense (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145300)

Thank you! Now I understand.

Let's hope ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38146912)

Let's hope that the Liblime company jumps all over http://koha.com/ [koha.com] , the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association as well.
I mean, they're infringing the trademark/copyright whatever it is too, aren't they?

If they don't, then they fck themselves for not pursuing protection of "their" assets, no ?

Re:thank you, summary makes no sense (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148828)

+1 ThisGuyNeedsToBeAnEditor

Re:thank you, summary makes no sense (1)

Obelos (2515328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38149840)

4) The actual story is not particularly weasely. HTL contracted Katipo Communications to write Koha in 1999. Katipo sold all of its Koha-related assets (including all its Koha copyrights and the koha.org domain) to LibLime in 2007. With the blessing of the community, LibLime also reserved the US trademark in 2008. The community split in 2008/2009. LibLime then sold its assets to PTFS in 2010, just after submitting the application for NZ trademark. 5) PTFS/LibLime does not try to convince anyone that theirs is the only Koha distribution. Conversely, HLT's community cannot seem to shut up about theirs being "real Koha". 6 ) Why the NZ app was filed is a mystery known only by the former LibLime owners. PTFS intends to hold the NZ TM for non-exclusive use, just as it has held the US TM for non-exclusive use for several years now, having never contested anyone else's use of the name.

Re:thank you, summary makes no sense (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38152784)

Mistake in your description of events.

5) PTFS/LibLime does not try to convince anyone that theirs is the only Koha distribution.

Horsepoop. By asserting their trademark, they are *in fact* asserting that they are the only Koha distribution. That's what a trademark does.

Re:thank you, summary makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38146406)

No company "gets bought out" by a "corporate bully". Their directors decided to sell to PTFS out of their own greed.

No sympathy for the Koha "community". Fork and rename.

Re:thank you, summary makes no sense (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147602)

So... PTFS and Liblime need their Wikipedia pages updated with something coherent that documents this mess. That way the Google test will always reveal such actions that reflect poorly on the company (i.e. they deal falsely and unfairly, thus their reputation is damaged by their actions--make this public and clear to enforce that damage).

Re:thank you, summary makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38144574)

oi

Re:thank you, summary makes no sense (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 2 years ago | (#38147710)

thank you, slashdot, for reviving some old comment of mine and attaching to this article. for the record, this comment was originally to some other article where summary indeed didn't make sense (this one actually does).\

it was a bit of a surprise, though. started reading the comment. thoughts go like this :
"hey, what's this guy (there are no girls on /.) having a problem understanding, this was a pretty clear summary... hmm, i think i have seen this somewhere before... OMGWTF"

MAORI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143074)

Not Mori.

Maori definitely misspelt (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143096)

Kia ora from Wellington NZ
Maori was definitely misspelt
link to wikipedia article on the Maori term Koha
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koha_(custom)

Summary (5, Insightful)

karit (681682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143130)

Basically a company who has extended and NOT given back to the community is now wanting the trademark the name of the Open Source product.

Re:Summary (2)

kevin_j_morse (1282350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143236)

That's what I got out of it...

Not sure what the hell the defense contractor has to do with anything? LibLime appears to be the guilty party here.

Re:Summary (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143424)

That's what I got out of it...

Not sure what the hell the defense contractor has to do with anything? LibLime appears to be the guilty party here.

Liblime sold themselves to PTFS (a defense contractor) in 2010

'LibLime was founded in 2005, as part of Metavore Inc.[2] and purchased by Progressive Technology Federal Systems, Inc. (PTFS) in 2010.'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liblime

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38145792)

The fact that's a defense contractor isn't important. Maybe it's about trying to get more sympathy by suggesting the DoD is comming after them. In this case it would be more appropriate to mention liblime is also a WIPO contractor, maybe that's where they got their idea from...

and, some comments from PTFS/Liblime... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143544)

here's a very interesting recent discussion about this - with comments from PTFS/Liblime

http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/the-exemplar-of-stupid-koha-vs-liblime-trademark/

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143948)

There is probably no better example of how completely fucked up IP law is internationally than this.

If someone has an example, please provide.

I feel for this project. It's totally fucking ridiculous.

Re:Summary (1)

Obelos (2515328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38150186)

This is patently false. LibLime's Koha git repo is available on Github: https://github.com/liblime/LibLime-Koha [github.com] . HLT community members have even submitted pull requests to our project.

Re:Summary (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38152340)

Oh, so you ARE an employee of LibLime then. I figured you were, since you're the only person defending this shitty behaviour.

Re:Summary (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#38150658)

Basically a company who has extended and NOT given back to the community is now wanting the trademark the name of the Open Source product.

If LibLime has distributed Koha binaries, but not source, they have violated its Copyleft license, which is much more serious than a trademark dispute. Is there any evidence they've done so? LibLime's FAQ [liblime.com] says

Q. LibLime Koha is open-source software; doesn’t that mean it’s free?
A. Yes, LibLime Koha is open source and so LibLime Koha is free, in fact you can download it yourself from a number of sites, including here. LibLime is an open source support company and we were established in 2005 to work with libraries that wish to run LibLime Koha but do not have the internal resources to manage a system.
LibLime offers the following services:
-Professional project management for your LibLime Koha implementation
-Set up and implementation of your LibLime Koha instance
-LibLime Koha Training
-Migration of legacy data
-Hosting and support (help desk and online ticketing system)

Re:Summary (2)

Obelos (2515328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38151078)

Koha is written in Perl. There's no (practical) way to distribute a binary. We make our code freely available through Github.

Crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143148)

An obscure contractor without vowels should be unable to complain, let alone annunciate.

Re:Crazy (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143272)

Why? We now need a law to keep people from saying stupid things? Let 'em fumble.

Better summary (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143216)

A commercial company that has been reselling an open-source product now wants to claim ownership of the product itself. Because the current owners are not well funded, there is a prospect that they will be able to do so.

The current owners, being incredibly naive, claim to have been under the impression that foreigners couldn't trademark Maori words. (Possibly they've never heard of Coca-Cola [wikipedia.org] . Even now, they're only trying to fight the trademark application in New Zealand, so I'm not sure what (if any) effect that would have internationally.

Re:Better summary (2)

Old Wolf (56093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143306)

'Poor' is a better word than 'naive'. They're just a small library, they cannot afford things like legal fees. Hopefully the EFF will step in here.

Re:Better summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143348)

Your understanding of the word 'naive' is 'poor'.

Re:Better summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38144340)

claim to have been under the impression that foreigners couldn't trademark Maori words.

That isn't even close. Did you read the article or is this just a gut reaction? If this was a fully formed opinion you may want to take stock of your mental state. Twisting a situation to this degree is fairly clear evidence of a thought disorder.

Re:Better summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38145774)

It has been well publicized that some people are pathological liars and will invent whatever stories will get them what they want on the spot. (This is a general point, I'm not claiming the GP poster is one.) However, it seems to me that the same mechanism is there in all neurotypical people, only they employ it to a far lesser degree. Very few people are careful to stick to 100 % facts in a discussion.

The history (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143234)

Short version: PTFS ended up owning the community domain name and a trademark for Koha due to some weird stuff that has happened over the past 12 years. PTFS is not well regarded by the general community due to how they try to confuse users into thinking theirs is the only version, their practices which (from what I can tell) make versioning a nightmare, and their lack of regard for the community. The community does not want them to gain any more ground.

Re:The history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143558)

To clarify - they bought a domain name, but no trademark as no trademark has ever existed.

Re:The history (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38144084)

I believe they already have a US trademark for Koha (3619202).

Re:The history (1)

Obelos (2515328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38150286)

This is probably the fairest assessment I've seen, save that PTFS doesn't "confuse users into thinking theirs is the only version" any more than the HLT community does.

Defense contractor? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143266)

Sure, PTFS counts some DoD entities among its clients, but it's odd to refer to a company that has clients like the Holocaust Museum and the National Library of Medicine as a defense contractor.

That being said, it's super shady for a company that got started solely to provide end-user support for an OSS system to try and trademark that system's name.

Licensing? (2)

cuncator (906265) | more than 2 years ago | (#38143308)

Can someone explain to me how this isn't a violation of the copyleft GPL Koha is distributed under?

Re:Licensing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143334)

The problem is the copyright holder doesn't have the money required to "lawyer up" and take it to court.

Re:Licensing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143616)

Can someone explain to me how this isn't a violation of the copyleft GPL Koha is distributed under?

this is a trademark issue. PTFS/Liblime are attempting a trademark claim for the word 'KOHA' in New Zealand

this is *not* a copyright issue, the GPL does not apply here, (afaik, ianal)

Re:Licensing? (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145632)

From TFA comments:

... It could be argued that trying to seize a trademark in connection with a work is tantamount to claiming ownership of that work, which is copyright infringement.

Re:Licensing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38146010)

That makes absolutely no sense.

Just because someone writes something on the internet doesn't make it true.

Re:Licensing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38145726)

It's the Affero loop hole. They provide Koha as SaaS, hence their modifications don't leave there servers and no open sourcing is required. Should have used AGPL...

Re:Licensing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38149132)

While GPL certainly would allow for this situation, LibLime still distributes their code as OSS: https://github.com/liblime/LibLime-Koha

Re:Licensing? (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#38150770)

The dispute has nothing to do with copyright (and therefore Copyleft) AFAICT. I don't see any claim that LibLime is distributing proprietary derivatives of Koha. This is only a trademark dispute. If LibLime is trying to gain trademark protection for a term they adopted from the already existing project, that is an attempt to mislead at best and commit fraud at worst, but it has nothing to do with the GPL.

The following parts don't make sense... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143380)

1. rural library responsible for the first open source library catalogue
2. defence contractor PTFS
3. More than a decade after rolling out Koha
4. in a battle to keep a generic Mori term within the public domain

Is Koha a generic Mori (Maori) term? What is a library catalog? Like a public library catalog of the books in the library? Who is PTFS?

As far as the TM goes, If I make up a word called Azkio but it turns out to be a generic term in a language that less than .0002% of the people in the world would recognize does that mean a TM is invalidated?

Re:The following parts don't make sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143684)

>>a generic term in a language
Link "Windows" ?

Re:The following parts don't make sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38143844)

Maori is taught to every student in every school in New Zealand
Koha means gift
The trademark application in in New Zealand.
Its like trying to trademark "Gift"

Trademarking "Gift" isn't a problem as far as I'm aware though. I would object to it however, if it was the trademark for a product that isn't owned by the trademark owner.

That, and the product seems to be in violation of gpl. Not a trade mark issue but would be fun to see them sued for copyright infringement. I'm sure the library could do with a few million in damages. They could buy a lot of books

Re:The following parts don't make sense... (2)

NZKiwi (317525) | more than 2 years ago | (#38144000)

Is Koha a generic Mori (Maori) term? What is a library catalog? Like a public library catalog of the books in the library? Who is PTFS?

As far as the TM goes, If I make up a word called Azkio but it turns out to be a generic term in a language that less than .0002% of the people in the world would recognize does that mean a TM is invalidated?

Koha is the Maori word for "gift" - It's about as generic as the english word "gift". An example in the New Zealand context would be Te Papa Tongarewa (translates as "container of treasures" - the National Museum of New Zealand) having a box by the door labelled "Koha" in the hope you'll put some money in it to help support the museum and to show your appreciation for the place.

If you ask almost any New Zealander what Koha is (that's approximately 4 million people) they'd nearly all say it means gift or donation.

Re:The following parts don't make sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38144274)

- Is Koha a generic Mori (Maori) term?
yep, but PTFS/Liblime are attempting to claim trademark in NZ **specifically** in the classification of
'9/9 computer software, namely, an integrated library system for use in searching a collection of records, circulating materials, purchase of new materials and creation of metadata records for materials held'

  - What is a library catalog?
its another name for an 'Integrated library system' (ILS)
'http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_library_system'

  - Who is PTFS?
a recent player Koha community, and the recent purchaser of a company called Liblime, thats all
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liblime

the Koha wiki page has the backstory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koha_(software)

Re:The following parts don't make sense... (2)

kiwi_james (512638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146078)

a language that less than .0002% of the people in the world would recognize does that mean a TM is invalidated?

By my rough calculation our 4 million people gives us 0.057% of the world's population recognising the phrase :-)

The basic fact is that this is an extremely arrogant move. A company is taking a "common word", which ironically means gift, and using it for commercial gain for open source software that was created in the very country they're applying their trademark in.

The Maori meaning of "koha" is more complex than Gift - and if you start to understand the moral obligation that underpins true "koha" - you really feel that these guys are a bunch of knob-ends.

That said, our intellectual property office recently let a large brewery trademark the term "Radler" - http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10738427 [nzherald.co.nz] - so unfortunately they might be needing their legal fund to try and get Koha back out of corporate hands.

Re:The following parts don't make sense... (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38152382)

If I make up a word called Azkio but it turns out to be a generic term in a language that less than .0002% of the people in the world would recognize does that mean a TM is invalidated?

In the country whose native language it's a generic term in, I would imagine so, yes.

Evildoers abound? (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 2 years ago | (#38144026)

sounds like a job for Anonymous. ;)

It is possible to trademark generic terms (2)

bdwoolman (561635) | more than 2 years ago | (#38144102)

IANAL But the Tabasco story is a famous and an interesting trademark case [vegastrade...torney.com] .

Since Tabasco is a state in Mexico and a name for a pepper, McIllhenny understandably had a hard time cementing its claim. Right or wrong, McIllhenny vigorously defends this hard-won mark to this day.

Re:It is possible to trademark generic terms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38145046)

So just because Daddy-Pepperbucks steamrolled a trademark for Tabasco a century ago, it makes it RIGHT for another USA-ian outfit to hijack "Koha"?

Certainly not right in my opinion (2)

bdwoolman (561635) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145530)

Just legally possible, although not morally defensible. The law, we all know well, does not always equate to justice. And that is especially true of IP law, of course.

By referencing this case I was pointing out that the NZ library has every reason to be worried. Since this rather creepy little company going after the Maori trademark has plenty of creepy company. I had no intention of defending them.

Personally I am outraged by Daddy Pepperbucks century of non-stop litigious bullying. They even went after a punk rocker who used a "Tabasco" moniker. Was it Annie Tabasco..? or Suzy Tabasco...? or... Someone help me here. The early 80s are a bit.... fuzzy.

Re:Certainly not right in my opinion (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#38151130)

I certainly agree that the TABASCO trademark should never have been granted and the company has defended it with reprehensible tactics. I've often enjoyed their products since I was young, though ironically I prefer their jalapeño sauces to the original. I will now more likely buy competitors' products.

Maybe in the US its ok (2)

vik (17857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146852)

but this kind of behaviour is not OK in New Zealand. What if someone from NZ snuck over and trademarked "Honour" (or "Honor" on your side of the pond)?

Frankly, I'm fed up with corporations behaving like this then bleating that they are only doing it to secure their profits which justifies anything as you know. Time they got taken down a peg or two.

This is why the world hates America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38144598)

For all the great things about this country, they are completely overshadowed by things that are just plain and simply evil.

Hate to say it but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38144772)

The group would be better of using the money to advertise whatever new name they choose. Sure they could fight the court battle win or lose the lawyers get the money. They might win with a little publicity. They might lose with a little publicity. Or they could use the money they get to take out ads in multiple papers and magazines and establish their new name as a powerful brand.

I find something is wrong with this approach (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38144876)

Instead of spending their own resources to dispute the trademark, they ought to consider if the trademark covers their own domain of application - similarly to how Apple Inc and Apple corps are both trademarks built on a single English word, but technically don't cover the same area - one is a trademark on an IT brand, the other is a trademark on a music store, and one should not be able to confuse one for the other (although they have fought over the name, needlessly really). Is LibLime asking them to C&D the use of the name? Can they coexist without confusing their client base over each other's existence? Are they fretting over the problem unnecessarily?

Re:I find something is wrong with this approach (2)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145214)

I am unable to adequately express my dismay regarding your sheer ignorance of the situation at hand.

So, if you could just punch yourself in the face, just as hard as you can, that'd be great. Well, it wouldn't be great for *you*, but I'd feel a whole lot better knowing it had been done.

Thanks.

Re:I find something is wrong with this approach (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#38146496)

The trademark was originated by the project that invented the software at the poor library in NZ. Because the software can be distributed for free anyone can download it and re-distribute the software. So what Liblime did was downloaded the software and because the poor owner of the software failed to register the trademark worldwide Liblime registered the trademarks. And they are now marketing the trademark as theirs totally hijacking the real project's trademark.

Re:I find something is wrong with this approach (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#38150928)

I'm pretty sure LibLime's application for trademark was the first (and probably only) one. It seems that the originators of the project didn't apply for a trademark because they didn't think the generic word "Koha" could be trademarked. Horowhenua Library Trust is not saying they should hold the "real" trademark but that the trademark shouldn't exist at all.

Re:I find something is wrong with this approach (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38148366)

they're the same product. they can't co-exist.

it's like ubuntu going and trademarking "debian" to fight loosing downloads to debian-mint.

Re:I find something is wrong with this approach (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 2 years ago | (#38151080)

"Debian" was trademarked [uspto.gov] in 1999, long before Canonical came along anyway. While Canonical and Mint must use the term "Debian" in compliance with the Debian licensing policy [debian.org] , Canonical gets to determine Ubuntu trademark policy [ubuntu.com] . Whether "Koha" can be trademarked seems a similar question to whether "Ubuntu" can, since it's also a generic word in several languages [wikipedia.org] .

Re:I find something is wrong with this approach (1)

steveg (55825) | more than 2 years ago | (#38152538)

How do you loose a download?

If it's extraordinarily tight, perhaps you mean loosen?

get used to it (1)

jjbarrows (958997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145012)

I'm from Tasmania, where our most recognisably tasmanian icon the Tasmanian Devil(TM) (since we killed the Tigers) is trademarked by a US company
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasmanian_Devil_(Looney_Tunes) [wikipedia.org]

Re:get used to it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38147658)

There are some hundred Swedish products, some of them patented, that have been stolen by US companies, usually both the name and invention, usually by some previous US reseller of the product.

US IP-protection only applies to US based companies. It seem to be constructed to help US based companies to steal inventions as well as trade marks.

Do something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38145492)

I chipped in $50, I feel better. Try it!

The sad truth. (1)

madhi19 (1972884) | more than 2 years ago | (#38145886)

Let face it if you start any kind of business, blog or public project you now need to get it trademarked from day one to prevent the vultures from circling you a decade later in the unlikely event that you are even a little successful. $275 per class for a TEAS Plus application that meets the requirements of 37 C.F.R. 2.22 and 2.23 $325 per class for an application filed electronically using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) $375 per class for an application filed on paper That only for filling trademark I did not mention alternate domain suffix like .org .ca .fr .xxx and patent... It not higher tax that killing the economy it all the damn parasite lawyers.

American Corp. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38148610)

They are all shit none of them can compete fairly.
They all make and sell everything as cheap as they can.
Source something on the cheap then sell it to you the same price as if it were from America.

Look at my company we can only do business if I do a full on ringing endorsement of communism or American prison labor.
This is not capitalism it is legal theft of the consumer and exploitation of labor.
Greed.

How about some actual facts from a LibLimer? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38149028)

This summary and the ensuing discussion are so full of dumb and FUD, it's hard to know where to start. I'll list a few bullets:

1) If managing one of the Navy's library catalogs makes PTFS/LibLime a "defense contractor," that's a serious diffusion of the term.
2) PTFS/LibLime has held the same trademark continuously in the US for several years without any attempts to limit its use. The same applies to this trademark.
3) PTFS/LibLime's project is also OSS: https://github.com/liblime/LibLime-Koha
4) The LibLime component of PTFS is composed of fewer than a dozen people. PTFS as a whole is under 50... smaller than a lot of libraries.

The real issue here is that there is an unresolved project fork with an ugly, circuitous history. A conflict erupted over project direction and management, the "ownership" of the project was diffuse, and now both sides claim that they have rights to the name. Ironically, HLT is the side that claims that LibLime does not have rights to use the name. However, LibLime does not contend the converse, recognizing that plain fact that the name ownership is not clearly resolvable.

Everyone loves little neighborhood libraries, and everyone hates "big, evil defense contractors," so you can see who receives the benefit of the narrative frame. HLT is doing their best to work this framing, facts be damned. Meanwhile, they can't even take the issue seriously enough to stop their own trademark application from being abandoned from inattention.

Re:How about some actual facts from a LibLimer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38149902)

So, ptfs/liblime are finally on the defensive and working on damage control. This spin on the events seems to be something only a loyal ptfs/liblime employee could come up with.

This summary and the ensuing discussion are so full of dumb and FUD, it's hard to know where to start. I'll list a few bullets:

1) If managing one of the Navy's library catalogs makes PTFS/LibLime a "defense contractor," that's a serious diffusion of the term.

From the PTFS website: "PTFS’s Professional Support Services department specializes in staffing for Intelligence Agencies. "

2) PTFS/LibLime has held the same trademark continuously in the US for several years without any attempts to limit its use. The same applies to this trademark.

Considering the behavior of ptfs/liblime up to now, why would any reasonable person trust ptfs/liblime as a steward of the koha trademark?

3) PTFS/LibLime's project is also OSS: https://github.com/liblime/LibLime-Koha [github.com]

Thank you for not referring to the ptfs/liblime fork as "koha".
By saying that "...PTFS/LibLime's project is also OSS," you seem to be acknowledging that it is separate from koha, so why not call it by a different name?

4) The LibLime component of PTFS is composed of fewer than a dozen people. PTFS as a whole is under 50... smaller than a lot of libraries.

Is the small size of ptfs/liblime supposed to excuse its abhorrent behavior and lack of moral compass?

The real issue here is that there is an unresolved project fork with an ugly, circuitous history. A conflict erupted over project direction and management, the "ownership" of the project was diffuse, and now both sides claim that they have rights to the name. Ironically, HLT is the side that claims that LibLime does not have rights to use the name.

False. HLT is the side that claims that LibLime should not be permitted to trademark the name "koha".

However, LibLime does not contend the converse, recognizing that plain fact that the name ownership is not clearly resolvable.

Everyone loves little neighborhood libraries, and everyone hates "big, evil defense contractors," so you can see who receives the benefit of the narrative frame. HLT is doing their best to work this framing, facts be damned. Meanwhile, they can't even take the issue seriously enough to stop their own trademark application from being abandoned from inattention.

So, are you saying that HLT is to blame for not taking "...the issue seriously enough to stop their own trademark..." from being acquired by ptfs/liblime? In other words, ptfs/liblime is not responsible for what it is doing, but HLT is to blame for allowing ptfs/liblime to to do it?? Wow, you folks at ptfs/liblime really have no moral compass at all.

Re:How about some actual facts from a LibLimer? (1)

Obelos (2515328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38150040)

Considering the behavior of ptfs/liblime up to now, why would any reasonable person trust ptfs/liblime as a steward of the koha trademark?

Yes, your divisive and herd-ish community is a real trust broker.

Thank you for not referring to the ptfs/liblime fork as "koha". By saying that "...PTFS/LibLime's project is also OSS," you seem to be acknowledging that it is separate from koha, so why not call it by a different name?

Why not call HLT's project a different name?

Is the small size of ptfs/liblime supposed to excuse its abhorrent behavior and lack of moral compass?

One of HLT's tactics is to spin us as some mega-corp bully.

False. HLT is the side that claims that LibLime should not be permitted to trademark the name "koha".

Please spend 30 seconds on the HLT mailing lists or IRC after mentioning LibLime's name. All of the following commentary will predictably be along the lines of "that's not *real* Koha" or "they have no right to use that name." Please cite one, just one, instance where PTFS/LibLime has said that about HLT. Just one.

So, are you saying that HLT is to blame for not taking "...the issue seriously enough to stop their own trademark..." from being acquired by ptfs/liblime? In other words, ptfs/liblime is not responsible for what it is doing, but HLT is to blame for allowing ptfs/liblime to to do it?? Wow, you folks at ptfs/liblime really have no moral compass at all.

No, I'm saying that in addition to their hostility and divisiveness (which is what has prevented PTFS from simply canceling the app when we found out about its existence), HLT is also incompetent. They let their own application fall to rot. If they had not done so, they could have (probably successfully) contested PTFS' claim. But this way it sure is useful for garnering attention and donations.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>