Does open source need a trademark?

Right now, the trademark held by OSI is for "Open Source Definition," and for the logo itself, not the term open source.

Open Source Initiative logo
The logo to the right is a lie.  The term "open source," by itself, is not the trademarked property of the Open Source Initiative or anyone else.

So Centric CRM is ready to fight for its right to stay at the open source party. Who is to say they cannot? And make it stick?

SocialText, while trying to get approval for its Common Public Attribution License, is also wondering what it should call itself in the meantime.

Much of the fight is  over the question of mandating "attribution," telling users where the software you're using came from. It's not part of the Open Source Definition, but a subset of firms which call themselves Commercial Open Source think it should be. (Maybe they need a trademark, too.)

Right now, the trademark held by OSI is for "Open Source Definition," and for the logo itself, not the term open source.

When Linux faced this question several years ago, the answer was for Linus Torvalds to trademark the term. Linuxmark now controls its use.

An older version of the OSI's  Web site, still cached by Google, says it is "Dedicated to managing and promoting the Open Source trademark for the good of the community."

But is it? Should it be? Does the Linuxmark story provide a guide to the future, or a cautionary tale?[poll id=45]

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