[OpenStack Foundation] Use of the word "certified" and protecting brand OpenStack

Monty Taylor mordred at inaugust.com
Thu Oct 11 14:17:36 UTC 2012

On 10/11/2012 03:53 AM, Mark McLoughlin wrote:
> Hi Tristan,
> Thanks for raising this openly. That's very healthy IMHO
> On Thu, 2012-10-11 at 08:42 +1100, Tristan Goode wrote:
>> Dear Foundation Members,
>> I believe a key role of the Foundation is to protect the brand that is
>> OpenStack.
>> After raising the issue with Rackspace and Jonathan Bryce several days
>> ago, yesterday I sought my fellow Foundation Board members opinion on
>> Rackspace's use of the word "certified" in media releases 6 days ago,
> ...
> It took me a little bit of digging to find out what exactly you were
> referring to, so for others reference it was the RAX "Launch Your Career
> Into The Clouds" email sent out to summit attendees which said:
>   "learn how you can accelerate your career by becoming one of the first
>    Certified OpenStack technicians. OpenStack public training classes
>    are now posted at www.rackspacetraining.com."
> The "Certified OpenStack Technician" brand should definitely be
> something that the Foundation should seek to control. IMHO, it would
> only be appropriate for training course run by the Foundation itself or
> a Foundation contractor.
> However, the response you got:
>> From: Jim Curry [mailto:jim.curry at rackspace.com] 
> .. 
>> Tristan,
>> The email was an unfortunate mistake by our marketing team.  It does
>> not represent the official branding or positioning of our offer.  We
>> aren't perfect, and for any confusion that created I apologize.
>> To be clear, our offer is a "Rackspace Certified" training program for
>> OpenStack, not "OpenStack certified" for OpenStack.  We are putting
>> our brand behind the training, not representing the brand of the
>> project itself. 
> seems pretty "fair dinkum" to me :)

I agree.

> The term "Rackspace Certified Technician for OpenStack" makes it quite
> clear that it's not a certification endorsed by the Foundation. The
> Foundation should encourage such programs as part of growing the
> ecosystem.

Yah. I think that's perfectly fair. My main question at this point is
whether there needs to be a public clarification from Rackspace (or if
this email counts) in terms of our requirements around positive defense
of trademark usage. I'm clearly not a lawyer, and I also don't think
there was any negative intent here - but trademark law is weird.

> While a training course offered directly by the Foundation sounds like a
> good idea, I struggle to see how it would be useful without focusing on
> a specific OpenStack distribution and, if it did that, it would mean the
> Foundation being seen as endorsing a specific distribution.

I'm not sure I think that the foundation needs to be in the business of
offering training classes, possibly for exactly that reason. However, I
could see the foundation being in the business of certifying training
that is given by other parties. That way Rackspace really could do an
"OpenStack Certified" thing if they wanted to. Of course, the devil is
in the details and it's possible that such a foundation certification
would not be of value to our providers over and above their ability to
offer things such as "Rackspace Certified Technician for OpenStack" - so
I don't think we need to rush in to anything on that point.

My only concern at this point is just checking in that there are not any
actions that need to be taken related to trademark usage in that email.


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