Trademark battles – Koha, LibLime, US, New Zealand

I’ve been reading articles for the past few days talking about the ongoing debate between LibLime/PTFS and the Koha community working on a different version of the same software. Here is an article from Linux Weekly from last year describing the forking issue, the point at which LibLime/PTFS started independently developing their own version of the open source ILS Koha. Recently LibLime was granted the use of the trademark Koha in and around New Zealand according to their press release though it’s not entirely clear if a Maori word can even be trademarked. The Koha community centered around the original code at the Horowhenua Library Trust is concerned that PTFS will not make a good faith effort to do what it says it’s interested in doing: transferring the rights to the trademark back to the community. They are concerned that there will be a legal fight and are requesting donations and other support. Meanwhile LibLime appears to have lost significant ground to other versions of Koha according to the Library Technology Guide’s ILS turnover chart for last year. Seems like a good point in time for the libraries who are using LibLime/PTFS’s version of Koha to step up and make sure that their own vision of the open source community and their products is being respected and upheld by the companies who they are paying. Further reading on this topic is available at this Zotero group.

2 thoughts on “Trademark battles – Koha, LibLime, US, New Zealand

  1. One of the keynote speakers at the LIANZA conference in Wellington, NZ in October was Dr. Aroha Mead, who outlined the information application of the results of the Waitangi Tribunal report on the WAI 262 claim, which deals with Maori cultural and intellectual property rights. It was a fascinating talk about a complex cultural question, and whether or not one CAN trademark a Maori word is part of the discussion. There’s more information on the google, or here:

  2. This is also part of an on-going number of instances where Australian and New Zealand names have been trademarked under US IP laws. The Ugg boot being one memorable instance. With the EU requiring items such as champagne be tied to a specific product from a EU region and the USA claiming our words and open-source products there seems little left that is ours.

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