ZC says: the marks were stolen
ZEA seems to be saying: the marks were registered defensively.
I am amazed at how people pick and choose what to read and
repeat, and what to ignore. I will mix in a few quotes from
a few posts responding to my note yesterday to highlight
After this post, unless someone makes a profound new
statement, I will remain silent, as many of you have
requested, and complete the trademark challenge process
through the official channels that have already begun.
George, others have already replied to this, but Rob has
written about this as well before, so I'm surprised that
this is still a question. A defensive registration of _our_
trademark should have been _explicitly_ called to our
attention. In fact, any reasonable company would have
alerted us to any specific danger, and asked us if _we_
intended to register our trademarks in the appropriate
Beyond that point, _we_ are the first registrants of the
ZOPE trademark in WIPO. ZEA registered our LOGO, not the
word ZOPE, which we registered _before_ they registered the
LOGO. So, everyone, please pay attention. We did _not_
ignore our trademark rights in Europe. We registered our
base trademark, the word ZOPE, in a number of countries in
Europe. ZEA then registered our LOGO (taken from our
website), including the name ZOPE in it (which we had
I am truly unsure as to how to make this point any clearer.
My read on this is that there is a serious communication problem going
on here between the lines. Why doesn't Paul come out and state what the
ZEA position is? Why are ZC's words so angry?
There isn't really a communication problem here (though it
would wonderful if there was). There is a backtracking and a
rewriting of history going on, because ZEA got caught with
their hands in our cookie jar. They could have settled this
incredibly quietly and quickly. Instead, they chose a path
that has led us here.
We could have fought it silently too, so it's 100% true that
we are the ones that brought this fight into the public. On
the other hand, I can't imagine what would have happened if
this private battle dragged on until January, and then we
got beaten up for missing the launch date on the Foundation,
and only then alerted the community as to what was going on.
So, we did what we thought was the most prudent thing, and
alerted the community 2 days after we initiated the
challenge to their registration. I don't know how we could
have been more transparent about it.
ZC saying the marks were stolen seems a little over the top. What if ZEA
registered them defensively? if that's possible then ZEA should be given
then benefit of the doubt and not be called a thief. If there was a
need to register them to protect "zope", then why didn't ZC do it?
Read the above response again (and again if necessary). More
importantly, ask yourself why ZEA admitted to us during a
phone call that they believe that there were deals that they
could not have won if they didn't control the mark? Now
extend that thought one more inch and ask yourself how the
Zope-based companies that they competed against in Europe
would feel if they knew that this was a commercial leverage
point for ZEA in winning against their bid?!?!?
And again, read the above to see that our registration of the
mark "ZOPE" predates theirs.
Everybody needs to calm down, stop insulting each other and stop
broadcasting this problem to the whole world on zope-announce (for
example). Its making us all look childish.
Indeed, we do look childish, and I'm perhaps _more_ to blame
for that escalation than others. That's why I will try to
keep this as my last communication (at least for a while) on
this topic. That said, a number of people responded saying
that they were not only glad to be made aware of this
problem, but were surprised that they didn't know about it
The rhetoric (mine as well!) is louder than it should be,
but I believe the issue(s) definitely needed to be aired, as
it's utterly obvious that even the more basic of the "facts"
are still misunderstood by a number of posters. As an
example, the repeated questioning of why we didn't register
our own marks in Europe, which we did.
Making either side into the bad guy is not only innacurate but also
inappropriate and is not conducive to building a community around the
software we all love and are grateful to ZC and non-ZC related
programmers alike for, Zope.
Please don't say that things are "innacurate" when you
aren't involved, and have already repeated a number of
"innacuracies" yourself, which were readily available for
you to check before you repeated them...
Matt Hamilton wrote:
No, just the opposite. ZC do *not* want to transfer the
marks to the ZF. I do find this position strange. Whilst
they are willing to transfer all the IP, for which yes we
are grateful. The issue being that many companies around
the world are investing marketing money and time in
developing and promoting the 'zope brand'. The problem is
that this brand now (since ZC renamed from DC) also
co-incides with Zope Corporation. The value of this brand
is increasing and needs to be protected, hence why the
marks have been trademarked in the other companies in
which ZC did not register. I am guessing that ZC
registered the marks in the countries that are most
commercially valuable to them -- an understandable move as
it was their bucks paying for it. However the *zope
community* extends beyond these countries and needs
This is correct. We are transferring IP, and not the
trademarks. Are we allowed to keep anything, or should we
donate all of our programmers to the Foundation, but keep
paying their salaries as well? Just tell us what will make
100% of the people in the community love us, and we'll
Amazingly enough, we have owned the trademark since 2002 (we
changed our name in 2001, and it took that long to get the
trademark registered in the US). There was _no_ hope of a
Foundation at the time. Yet, by your own admission, you and
others continued to invest marketing money in the brand.
The more amazing part is that now that we will transfer the
IP to the Foundation, and give an _irrevocable_ license to
the Foundation for the use of the word ZOPE to brand the
software (which can _never_ be taken back, even if someone
acquires us), but somehow, _now_ you are worried about
investing in the Zope brand. I simply can't connect the
Two months ago, you would invest, when there was no
Foundation on the horizon, and the Zope software could be
revoked by a future acquirer of ZC. Now, there will be a
guaranteed future for the Zope software and brand forever,
independent of ZC, but that's somehow now "risky" for you to
The main conflict arises because:
* The zope community and Zope Corporation use the same
word 'zope' to identify themselves.
True. We're not the only ones. MySQL, JBOSS, etc.
* ZC don't want to let go of their trademarked name as
that is a major asset to their business.
True. However, it is _nothing_ like what is being described
by people who think we're being bad (you included). We want
to make sure that when something has the word Zope in it,
that it can't _mistakenly_ give the impression that it is a
product of Zope Corporation. PERIOD. Trademark is purely a
_sourcing_ issue. If the use of the word Zope does not
connote Zope Corporation, then we have no problem with it
(and never have had).
Rob gave a number of examples in his follow up yesterday.
I'll repeat one of them since it seems that repetition is
more necessary than I would have thought. Egenix uses the
word Zope _directly_ in one of their product names:
eGenix mxODBC Zope DA
They asked (as a result of some of these public TM
discussions) whether they needed a license from us or not.
We immediately informed them that they did not require a
license, even though the word Zope was in their product
Do you get it now? No consumer could have been confused that
this was a product of Zope Corporation. Therefore, we assert
_no control_ over the word Zope in that regard.
* Many people in the zope community feel uneasy that a
corporation which can be bought and sold owns the name of
the software that they are developing.
Agreed, but again, it is truly just paranoia (see above).
Worse, it can only get better after the Foundation has feel
and clear (and eternal) use of the mark to brand the
software "Zope", but somehow, it's now a bigger issue than
it has been in years...
All these points are perfectly valid and understandable,
but what we need to work out is a way in which we can try
and combine and merge these conflicting points in a sane
At the moment, there's nothing to work out. We will prevail
in our challenge to ZEA's filing, and everything will then
continue on course. This can be accelerated if ZEA
voluntarily gives up their registration (or transfers it to
Our TM is our asset. We don't intend to give it away. We
don't intend to give our building away either. Perhaps the
community wishes to chip in (or perhaps just ZEA) and wants
to make an offer to ZC to purchase the TM for themselves or
on behalf of the Foundation. All reasonable offers will be
I personally (remember, these views are all mine) welcome
Rob's ideas on how to ensure that ZC's potential
successors or assigns use the Zope trademark in a fair
way. The problem being, I don't see how that can happen
if the trademarks are owned by ZC as if the company were
bought it would be up to the new owned what would happen
with its own property.
I agree that Rob's suggestion was a good one, and the fact
that I agreed to it shows that we are more than willing to
work with the community to find _reasonable_ ways to solve
Yes we could put a contract in place between ZF and ZC to
say that ZF can be the arbiter of any disputes, but I
don't see how that can remain in place if ZC changes
Perhaps European law is different that US law, but Rob
stated clearly that the contract would name ZC's successors
and assigns, which makes it legally binding on anyone who
purchases ZC as well. In the US, that contract would survive
the sale of ZC. I see no reason to be paranoid about that
eventuality, as long as you would trust the initial contract
between ZC and the ZF.
To repeat myself (yet again), this is my last post unless
someone makes a truly new point.
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