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NZ Developers Win 'Koha' Trademark Case

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the good-on-them dept.

Software 26

An anonymous reader writes "Horowhenua Libraries Trust has successfully challenged a 2011 decision to let American company Liblime PTFS trademark in New Zealand the word Koha, the name of its library management system. That application was approved by the then Ministry of Economic Development, a decision appealed by the Horowhenua Library Trust and software firm Catalyst IT. A judgment delivered by assistant commissioner of trademarks Jennie Walden found the two pieces of software were largely the same and that it was likely a 'substantial number' of people would be confused or deceived if Liblime used the Koha trademark." Here's a previous Slashdot article discussing the PTFS/Liblime's trademark application.

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26 comments

Another riveting Slashdot story for Monday morning (3, Funny)

korbulon (2792438) | about 4 months ago | (#45701991)

Something tells me this is gonna be a long, long day.

Re:Another riveting Slashdot story for Monday morn (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45702033)

Something tells me this is gonna be a long, long day.

At this rate I might have to do some work!

Re:Another riveting Slashdot story for Monday morn (1)

lxs (131946) | about 4 months ago | (#45702203)

Slashdot tip to brighten your day:

1. Get up.
2. Greet the first person you see with a compliment and a big smile.
3. If you're feeling adventurous give them a hug.
4. Report your findings here.

Good luck.

Re:Another riveting Slashdot story for Monday morn (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 4 months ago | (#45702733)

Slashdot tip to brighten your day:

1. Get up.
2. Greet the first person you see with a compliment and a big smile.
3. If you're feeling adventurous give them a hug.
4. Report your findings here.

Good luck.

If it were a slashdot tip it would include:
5. ?????
6. Profit!

Re: Another riveting Slashdot story for Monday mor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708543)

This is important to certain sectors in NZ who are frustrated with foreign interests dissolving elements of the culture. There also the fear of US copyright and trademark approaches being forced by the TPP.

NZ couldn't really lose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45701997)

I mean if the native Horowhenua Library Trust and the Catalyst IT firm won then it's a great day to see New zealands independance from the US economic hegemon.

On the other hand *if they lost the appeal* to the Commissioner then New Zealands word would be in the news as people remarked on how they lost, and how the economic status of the US makes people afraid to challenge them.

  can you tell us the meaning of the word Koha?

Koha (5, Informative)

kegel dragon (729853) | about 4 months ago | (#45702025)

Koha is the Maori word for a gift or offering. Usually reciprocal in nature.

Does not matter (1)

Elixon (832904) | about 4 months ago | (#45704051)

It really does not metter if it is the common-language word. Look at SPINNING(tm). Then look at http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soubor:Spinning_the_Bikes_1894.jpg [wikipedia.org] and you will stop wondering. BTW SPINNING(tm) applies also to NZ. :-(

Re:Does not matter (1)

Eythian (552130) | about 4 months ago | (#45710991)

That makes no difference. The claim wasn't over it being a common language word (which it is here), it's over it being deceptive in the trademark sense. i.e. that there is something in the same space with the same name that's well known.

GP's question is perfectly relevant.

Source: I was physically at the Koha trademark hearing.

Re:Koha (2)

madmarcel (610409) | about 4 months ago | (#45707803)

Koha...is not quite a gift. It's many things.
Sometimes it's a voluntary donation, sometimes it is not and you'd better pay the koha.
Sometimes it is used as a blatant bribe to grease the wheels. (but koha sounds so much nicer than bribe doesn't it ;)

Traditionally it's food, but not these days. Cold hard cash thankyouverymuch.

(True story - koha in action ;)
There's a band that travels the North Island here and plays in the various small town pubs.
With each given pub they have a choice; voluntary door charge (koha) or, the pub pays them a flat fee up front.
This band always goes for the flat fee, with the exception of one pub not far from where I live.
When they play at that small town pub once a year, they always ask for koha at the door.

I asked the band members what was so special about that pub?
The answer:
"It takes us six months to smoke the koha"

Re:Koha (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708377)

That's the definition. In my experience, it's a way of demanding payment unofficially, as in "Nah, bro, that won't cost you, but some koha would be appropriate", and it's not reciprocal.

Re:Koha (1)

Eythian (552130) | about 4 months ago | (#45711011)

If cost could come into it, there there is some reciprocity involved. I (accurately or otherwise) think of it more as a kind of token trade. You're staying on someone's couch, you buy the beer. Someone gives you a lift a long way, you give them some petrol money. That kind of thing.

OKAY NEW ZEALAND WHERE IS ZEALAND !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45702143)

There is Jersey and there is New Jersey !!
There is Hempshire and there is New Hempshire !!
There is York and there is New York and New New York !!
Where is Zealand? Or did they think no one would notice, being that they are in the middle of an ocean far from any civilization !!

Re: OKAY NEW ZEALAND WHERE IS ZEALAND !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45702223)

In Holland, aka Sea Land.

For the europeans NZ was discovered by a dutch explorer named Abel Tasman, for which the Tasman sea between NZ and Australia is named.

Now you know.

Re: OKAY NEW ZEALAND WHERE IS ZEALAND !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45702541)

In Holland, aka Sea Land.

Holland is a part of the Netherlands.

Zeeland is also a part of the Netherlands, south of Holland.

Re: OKAY NEW ZEALAND WHERE IS ZEALAND !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45706295)

In lowland Holland, shoes are fuel.

Apparently it's decent software (4, Informative)

Pav (4298) | about 4 months ago | (#45702275)

I did some work for the local RSL (Returned Services League of Australia) - they house a small military library which at the time was maintained by a part time librarian on maternity leave. She needed my help with a migration because Koha apparently worked better on a linux platform. Said it was the best software she had used, and that it has an excellent rep in librarian circles. The only other library software I'd previously helped maintain was Dynix, and that used to get plenty of eyerolls from the libarians.

Oh, and it's open source... (4, Informative)

Pav (4298) | about 4 months ago | (#45702285)

...surprised that wasn't mentioned in the story.

Good (4, Informative)

comrade smith (3446251) | about 4 months ago | (#45704011)

Koha was developed by the Trust from the start. The decision to let a third party trademark the name was absurd from the start. I'm glad that the trademark was (eventually) rejected, and that LibLime had to pay costs. LibLime did provide paid support and development for Koha, but that doesn't mean they had any claim to the trademark. Especially as there are other companies that also provide support. (PS this new beta system is shit. The comment box is too small, and that picture is irrelevant to the story. Also, where the fuck did my paragraphs go? Do I have to manually insert them?)

Re:Good (1)

Eythian (552130) | about 4 months ago | (#45711023)

LibLime doesn't deploy or develop on Koha any more. They have their own product they call Koha which is a several year old fork of the mainline Koha that they sell. The real Koha has moved on a long, long way now.

Cybrarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45721143)

And they charge top dollar for absolutely shit support. It's too bad PTFS/LibLime poured all this money into trademark lawsuits instead of putting it into client support.

Koha itself is great when free or cheap. It's not as robust as normal commercial library systems software, but times are hard and a lot of libraries have had to make do with cheaper alternatives... like Koha or the Liblime Fauxha.

It's like a lot of open source software - it's not that it's the best software but it may be the only alternative you can afford.

Re:Cybrarian (1)

Eythian (552130) | about 4 months ago | (#45721297)

> It's not as robust as normal commercial library systems software

There are two things wrong here :)

a) it is a commercial library system. I get paid to work on it, to host it, to support it. So do many other people and companies. That's about as commercial as you can get.

b) libraries tend to like it more than their previous proprietary system because it is more robust. It doesn't crash (unless you overload it, but it handles that better than many other systems), it doesn't lose branches for days at a time for no good reason, doing repeated Z39.50 queries against it doesn't cause it to die *cough*voyager*cough*. In addition, it looks nice and is nice to use. Have you seen the public catalogues on proprietary systems? They are almost always horrifically ugly, and do things like have sessions in the URL, so you can't send links to someone else, or use multiple tabs reliably.

Koha is not "good enough because you're poor", although it fits that niche too. It's just good because it has more developers, more libraries involved with its development, and is not marketing-driven. Hell, it was totally web-based in 2000, most other ILS software isn't even now.

> Liblime Fauxha.

I'm stealing that. I hope you don't mind :)

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