[OpenID board] OIDF ED Mid Year Review: Trademark Update

Don Thibeau (OIDF ED) don at oidf.org
Tue Aug 17 21:53:09 UTC 2010

One of the responsibilities of boards like ours is to anticipate the
evolution of key foundations' assets; logos, trademarks, domain names etc.
As you are well aware, trademarks, branding etc. in the open
source/nonprofit space have different dynamics and value than in commercial
markets. OIDF members understand better than most the significance of
identification and reputation, which are the essence of trademarks. We are
beginning to make a significant investment in aligning the OIDF with
trademarks best practices in the open source community. The board's decision
earlier this year to retain a "general counsel" allows for the consistent
execution and cost efficiency to effectively engage with interested
community members in the US and overseas. We are now updating the relevant
registry data and have scoped a limited action plan. The initial goal is to
meet a minimum "fiduciary" threshold. This goes beyond policy publishing
legalities. It has practical and positive impacts on OpenID adoption efforts
beyond the US and enables future defense, enforcement and certification mark
options.  For example, trademark registrations require maintenance.  Failure
to properly notice and enforce trademarks can result in their becoming
unprotected generic terms. OIDF will consider how best to manage its
trademark policy and enforcement over time. 


OIDF Counsel KL Gates will contact all known third-party registrants and
propose an action plan to "clean-up third-party registrations" in the US, EU
and support Nat Sakimura's efforts in Japan.  Past work with Snorri
Giorgetti and OpenID.org are examples of our near term focus. It is unlikely
we will negotiate or litigate with third party registrants of related
trademarks or domains. We plan to rely on our persuasion not our pocketbook.
Some registrants include current and past community and board members. KLG
has drafted a trademark policy largely based on Mozilla's and OSGI's policy.
This will be presented for board approval. This limited effort results in
significant, unbudgeted, one time legal expenses accounted for in the
midyear budget planning. We are managing legal expenses closely.


This work keeps the foundation pacing the progress and promise of OpenID. It
is required to manage the life cycle of foundation. Our thanks to the
leadership of Board members, Dave Recordon, Chris Messina and Nat Sakimura
who have contributed their time and expertise to the Trademark Committee.
This is a good time to get involved if you or your company has concerns or
questions please contact me or the committee.


Don Thibeau

The OpenID Foundation

 <http://openid.net/> http://openid.net


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