Weblog

Django Software Foundation adopts trademark policy

The Django Software Foundation is the custodian of two major pieces of intellectual property. The first is the copyright to the Django codebase. The DSF manages copyrights by gathering contributor license agreements from everyone who contributes code to the Django project. This, in turn, allows the DSF to offer Django for distribution under the terms of the BSD license.

The second piece of intellectual property is the Django trademark - that is:

  • the name “Django” when used to describe software;
  • The logo comprised of the name Django rendered in color #092E20; in the font DTL Prokyon.

The name Django is a registered trademark in the US (USPTO serial number 78680396). The trademark isn’t formally registered in other jurisdictions, but as a result of continued usage, we still have common law rights to the name in most jurisdictions.

Earlier this year, the Python community got a wake up call in the form of the conflict over python.co.uk. That was a trademark dispute - it was about the use of the name Python to identify computer software in Europe. While that challenge was defeated, it made it clear that open source communities need to be more active around protection of their trademarks. As a community, we need to protect our trademark, and we need to be seen to be protecting it, or we’ll lose the ability to protect against attacks similar to those that endured by Python.

For this reason, the DSF has adopted a trademark licensing agreement to govern community use of the Django trademark.

This agreement isn't something you need to sign. It’s an agreement in the same way that the BSD license is Django’s copyright agreement - by using Django’s code, you agree to adhere to the terms of the BSD license; if you use Django’s Trademark, you’re agreeing to adhere to the terms of our trademark licensing agreement.

The full text of the agreement can be found at http://djangoproject.com/trademarks/, along with an extensive FAQ describing why we've taken this step, and common ways the license would be used in practice. By publishing this license, the DSF is making it clear what we consider to be acceptable use of the Django trademark. The hope is that this will give the community the liberty to pursue interesting ideas, while the DSF will retain the ability to protect the trademark against those who would exploit it.

It’s important to note that the licensing agreement is the start of the discussion, not the end. The terms here are generic terms that the DSF is comfortable offering to everyone. If your usage doesn’t fit these terms, or you have specific concerns, the DSF is in a position to offer you specific terms that meet your needs. If you think you fall into this category, or if you have any other questions or concerns about this trademark licensing policy, please get in touch.

Posted by Russell Keith-Magee on September 12, 2013