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

Joshua McKenty joshua at pistoncloud.com
Thu Oct 11 17:21:31 UTC 2012

Totally agree with both Mark and Tristan's concerns, and a final nuance 
relating to current trademark guidelines:

The current OpenStack trademark policy requires the term "OpenStack" to 
be applied only to products that include *all* of the core OpenStack 
projects at that particular revision - thus, training that's described 
as "for OpenStack" should, at the very least, cover Nova, Swift, and 
Glance. My concern is that if Rackspace Alamo is being used as the basis 
for such training (total speculation, I realize), then this should be 
characterized as "Rackspace Certified Technician for OpenStack Compute". 
I believe there's also a requirement to specify the *version* of 
OpenStack that such training would apply to - since I note that there's 
no Quantum, and limited Keystone, functionality in the curriculum.

While Rackspace's intended use is (AFAIK) within the bounds of fair use 
under trademark law, we might expect better efforts to protect the value 
of the brand from the members of the Foundation. In fact, we probably 
*can* expect such efforts under the member agreement.

Alan, will you put this on the agenda for Monday, please?

Joshua McKenty, CEO
Piston Cloud Computing, Inc.
w: (650) 24-CLOUD
m: (650) 283-6846

"Oh, Westley, we'll never survive!"
"Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has."
On 11 Oct 2012, at 7:17, Monty Taylor wrote:

> 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.
> Thanks!
> Monty
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