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Improving Your Apache Project's Image And Brand

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Want to find new ways to draw in contributors to your project? Looking to attract ideas and attention from some of the corporate vendors, but don't want to lose your independence? Don't know how to approach your employer's plans to launch BigCo's SuperLucene product?

Learn how to improve your project's brand, drawing in newcomers as productive contributors, and defending your brand from aggressive vendors. Dealing fairly and firmly with companies mis-using your good reputation seems hard, but it doesn't need to be.

Learn about what uses of Apache brands that are OK, versus infringing uses hungry vendors try to use - and how to stop them. The strong independent reputation of your project and Apache overall relies on every PMC policing their own brand effectively and fairly. The Trademarks Committee is here to help!

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Improving Your Apache Project's Image And Brand

  1. 1. Up Next: Improving Your Apache Project’s Image And Brand @ShaneCurcuru flickr:Gerhard Bögner CC-0
  2. 2. Shane Curcuru Vice President, Brand Management The Apache Software Foundation @ShaneCurcuru | @ASFBrands IMPROVING YOUR APACHE PROJECT’S IMAGE AND BRAND flickr:epicantus CC-BY
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION • Shane Curcuru • Committer in1999, Member in 2002, 
 current Director • V.P. Brand Management
 Apache Software Foundation • Defined trademark policies for all 200+ Apache projects • Not your lawyer • Not a lawyer at all
  4. 4. TOPICS • Managing Independence & Curating Project Health • HowThe World SeesYour Project • Trademark Concepts In 30 Seconds • PMC Branding &Trademarks Responsibilities • Resources / Q&A
  5. 5. MANAGING INDEPENDENCE & CURATING PROJECT HEALTH flickr:Devo CC-BY
  6. 6. ACT INDEPENDENTLY • Apache projects are governed independently • Treat all participants / contributors fairly • Apache software products are branded independently • Clearly branded, eg,Apache Foo • Independence = Apache Foo software performs useful functions, without additional (proprietary) software This is required for all Apache projects https://s.apache.org/independent
  7. 7. BE INCLUSIVE • An inclusive community provides independence from commercial influence • Committer & PMC member diversity is the best way to maintain long-term independent project governance • Actively seek out new contributions with “low hanging” bugs; review patches quickly and thoughtfully • Encourage positive contributions; mentor new contributors to become committers and PMC members • Promote real-world stories of how project software helps end users
  8. 8. PUBLIC PERCEPTION Projects that are perceived to be associated with a single company… Tend to attract fewer contributions from outside that company Self-perpetuating cycle
  9. 9. HOW THE WORLD SEES YOUR PROJECT pixabay:Nedim CC-0
  10. 10. HEALTHY PROJECTS NEED NEW CONTRIBUTORS • Project longevity requires vitality • Developers have a half-life • New contributors bring new ideas • Number of Contributors proxy for overall usage • Ensuring they are welcomed is worth the effort!
  11. 11. What does your project do? Code, technology, functionality How does your project describe itself? Website, examples, demos, docs How does your community interact with people? Social media, responding on lists, blogging/comments DIFFERENT WAYSTOTHINK ABOUTYOUR PROJECT
  12. 12. “Apache X implements the overdrive oscillation RFC 2549” That’s great. What does it MEAN? “Apache X software can power your inter-dimensional oscillating transport into the 8th dimension following the RFC 2549 standard with birdseed quality of service.” WHAT DOESYOUR PROJECT DO?
  13. 13. •Description of the problems you solve for users •Attractive website with clear navigation, consistent brand •Obvious LinksYou Really Should Have •Download, HowTo Use It, HowTo Report Issues, How To Contribute, HowTo Contact Us, Example Programs •Pointers to install, docs,APIs; other implementations or related tools or technologies HOW DOESYOUR PROJECT DESCRIBE ITSELF?
  14. 14. •Attracting new contributors means welcoming them •Are questions answered quickly, politely? •Are issues responded to? •Are contributions/patches reviewed or commented quickly? HOW DOESYOUR PROJECT INTERACT WITH PEOPLE?
  15. 15. •Do you regularly tweet or blog? •Do you have a weekly/monthly newsletter? •Do you respond when newcomers tweet/post at your project? SOCIAL MEDIA & ENGAGEMENT
  16. 16. BRAINSTORM: WHAT CAN YOUR PROJECT IMPROVE? flickr:Devo CC-BY
  17. 17. TRADEMARK CONCEPTS IN 30 SECONDS flickr:Devo CC-BY
  18. 18. •Your trademark is the legal instantiation of your brand •It is the specific name or logo a consumer (user of your software) associates with your downloadable software program •Trademarks are about preventing consumer confusion as to the source of goods within a specific field of commerce •Trademarks protect consumers by ensuring expectations of quality, functionality, etc. available from a specific vendor WHAT ARETRADEMARKS?
  19. 19. TRADEMARKS ARE ADJECTIVES • Trademarks legally are used to describe the actual goods • I buy Kleenex® brand tissues • We run Apache CouchDB™ software and Apache Hadoop® software … but in common usage we just write: we're running Python • Adjective use & marking with ™ and ® is important on homepage & downloads … not as important in other places https://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/guide
  20. 20. • Nominative use for trademarks ~= fair use for copyright • Other people may use your trademark to describe your goods • Personal blogs, newspapers, technical discussions almost always nominative • Nominative use allows people/companies to post bad reviews Not OK: • Infringement is when a third party uses your marks in a way that may mislead consumers as to the true source of goods, or confuse users as to which company provides a software product NOMINATIVE USE IS OK
  21. 21. • In the US, common law rights accrue from actual use of a name™ or logo™ to identify goods – without any registration • Trademarks may also be registered® with the USPTO, the EU/CommunityTrade Mark, and other individual country governments – improves our rights, prevents problems • Every country has different registration laws • Most are “first to file” like EU, China, Korea; some are “first to use” REGISTEREDTRADEMARKS
  22. 22. PMC BRANDING RESPONSIBILITIES flickr:Bobo Boom CC-BY
  23. 23. BE RESPONSIBLE • PMCs are responsible for their own brand: • Have a consistent brand and use it on website • Be aware of how your brand is used in the marketplace • Be respectful of other brands and Apache® brand https://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/responsibility
  24. 24. BE CONSISTENT •Your use of your Apache Foo™ brand is the reference implementation •In your documentation, first and most prominent uses •On your download page: download Apache Foo™ software •In publicly visible parts of your product UI •Annotate your own trademarks (both words and logos) with ™ or ® to make their status clear to others •Trademark law is not a compiler: the general consumer perception is what counts, https://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/pmcs
  25. 25. BE AWARE •Be aware of how other companies use your project brand •Inappropriate third party use of your brand may cause confusion as to the source of software products •Fairness to all users is critical – both with outsiders and with companies who are contributing to your project •Detailed WhatTo Do When guidelines below: https://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/reporting
  26. 26. BE RESPECTFUL • Treat other organizations’ trademarks respectfully • Charitable or community-based projects have no business infringing on others’ trademarks • Be liberal in attribution and giving credit to other communities or companies • Respond calmly and professionally if a third party asks for/demands changes; always cc: trademarks@ https://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/linking
  27. 27. REGISTERYOUR MARK • Recommended policy is to register your software product name • The ASF will register most Apache product names for software goods in the US, if requested by the PMC • If your project is very popular, you can can request additional registrations in other jurisdictions like the EU/CTM • Justification is required by the board for non-US expenses https://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/register
  28. 28. GRANTING PERMISSIONS FOR YOUR PROJECT BRAND flickr:Richard Fisher CC-BY
  29. 29. • PMCs may directly grant certain third party permissions for specific uses (events, domains, swag / merchandise) of their project marks • Best practices / improved how-to guides being rolled out • Respond promptly: acknowledge the question even if the answer is not ready yet • Respond professionally: many requesters are marketers or lawyers, not coders • Respond privately: keep on private@ unless OP used dev@ GRANTINGTHIRD PARTY PERMISSIONS
  30. 30. • Only grant specific permissions as noted in policy • Events; domain names; services; merchandise • Do not grant exceptions dealing with software product names • But: you can allow “Powered By” names/icons (For..., Plugin...) • Be consistent and fair when granting permissions • Does a use of your project's brand by a third party / other company: • Maintain clarity about the source of Apache software? • Help the image, impact, or reach of your project community? • Ask trademarks@ for help anytime you have a question! RESPONDINGTOTHIRD PARTY QUESTIONS
  31. 31. POLICING (MIS)USE OF YOUR PROJECT BRAND
  32. 32. • When a third party is improperly using your project's brand, the PMC needs to take action and ask for corrections! • Assume ignorance rather than malice • Use reporting guidelines to determine if the use is (or is not!) a problem • Generally contact third parties privately (but be sure to cc: trademarks@) • Private, direct contact allows all parties to save face • Public confrontations often escalate, potentially damaging everyone's reputation • Include brand actions in your board report POLICE BRAND USE PRIVATELY https://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/reporting
  33. 33. BE PROFESSIONAL & POLITE • Whenever contacting anyone about improper brand use: • Be professional – you are talking to managers/marketers • Be polite – many cases are resolved through simple discussion • Be firm – state the ASF's clear ownership of the marks • Be specific – quote specific uses that we request to be changed • Most potential infringements cases are resolved through discussion between private@, trademarks@, and the other party • Be patient – discussions take time to resolve • Legal threats are never the first step https://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/templates/
  34. 34. • Send any legal questions, especially any from outside the ASF, to: trademarks@ for anything brand-related (private archive) legal-internal@ for specific legal question the PMC for the project (private archive) legal-discuss@ for general legal questions that can be discussed publicly (public archive) • Never grant exception to brand policy without trademarks@ approval • Never give legal advice (unless you actually are an ASF counsel) • Never respond to an outside lawyer without asking ASF counsel GET LEGAL ADVICE
  35. 35. WHEN TO WORK WITH TRADEMARKS@
  36. 36. • Any time a third party responds negatively, or when another company lawyer is involved – ask trademarks@ to help craft your reply • Any difficult negotiations should be done byVP, Brand Management, with appropriate legal counsel • Most corporations respond to official titles • Patience is required: trademark issues are rarely time critical • Legal threats are never the second step DEALING WITH 
 DIFFICULT SITUATIONS https://www.apache.org/foundation/marks/reporting
  37. 37. • A Cease & Desist (C&D) is considered a last resort, when all other approaches have failed • Trademark litigation is expensive and risky • Most issues can be resolved with polite, firm, and private discussion with the right parties • A very few serious issues end up being resolved with more visible actions: making a public case; restricting PMC or commit access; or the board unilaterally restructuring a project TRADEMARK ENFORCEMENT
  38. 38. THANK YOU & RESOURCES flickr:Richard Fisher CC-BY
  39. 39. THANKYOU •Thanks to all Apache committers and PMCs! •Thanks to companies who respect Apache brands •Thanks to the Brand Management Committee •Thanks to DLAPiper counsel: Mark Radcliffe, Gina Durham, Carol Anne Bashir, registration staff
  40. 40. • We have a detailed listing of Apache and general trademark and branding policies, resources, and education! http://s.apache.org/trademarks • Questions? <trademarks@apache.org> and relevant <private@project.apache.org> TRADEMARK RESOURCES
  41. 41. • Community Development PMC is here to help! http://community.apache.org/ <dev@community.apache.org> • Press Release or “Did you know about Apache?” help http://www.apache.org/press/ • PutYour Events on the Apache Calendar http://community.apache.org/calendars/ BRAND & SOCIAL RESOURCES
  42. 42. QUESTIONS? s.apache.org/trademarks <trademarks@apache.org> flickr:Devo CC-BY
  43. 43. THANK YOU! Shane Curcuru Vice President, Brand Management The Apache Software Foundation @ShaneCurcuru | @ASFBrands IMPROVING YOUR APACHE PROJECT’S IMAGE AND BRAND flickr:Devo CC-BY
  44. 44. BUT IT’S OPEN SOURCE! Apache License, v2.0 6. 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

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