These are some guidelines for choosing names for projects and products at the ASF. It is mostly common-sense. There are two situations: 1) a new project is entering through the Apache Incubator; 2) an existing project has a new product.

  • "Apache" is our main trademark - In the case of projects with names, We also claim trademark on "Apache Name" and "Name".

  • The name will always be prefixed with "Apache". However in common usage it will get referred to as a single word. So choose carefully.

  • Reduce the likelihood of confusion.

  • Trademarks exist by virtue of use, not just registration.

  • The fact that a word or phrase is not registered as a trademark does not necessarily indicate that it is available for our use. If the mark is used in commerce but not registered, then we still cannot copy it for our goods.

  • Use internet search tools to be sure that there is no "similar" product, i.e. software for a specific purpose.

  • When people conduct an internet search after hearing about an ASF project, they will use some technical terms and a name. We want to appear near the top and not get confused with someone else in the same technical space.

  • Potential search confusion is important for another reason. Apache projects are often very quickly highly ranked. An Apache project with a similar name to someone else in the same technical space may quickly come to dominate searches in that space. If someone else holds a related trademark then this may lead to a legal dispute.

  • Even if a product name cannot be found via a search, if you are aware that it is being used for a similar product then we cannot use it.

  • Choose a name that is easily remembered, is not too long, and is not difficult to spell.

  • Be culturally sensitive and avoid names that might offend.

  • Consider using functional names, especially for products of existing projects, e.g. for an "Apache Foo" project, the product name "Apache Foo Pipelines".

  • Be good citizens, i.e. do unto others as you would expect that they should do unto you. For example, treat the product names of others with respect, i.e. do not try a twist that is close to the name of a similar product.

  • Choose a sensible name early in a product's development, e.g. before mailing lists, package names, etc. Better to spend time now - your project will not want to change its product's name later.

  • See this as an important marketing opportunity, rather than a bother.

  • By carefully validating the uniqueness of our chosen names and clearly establishing first use in the field, we reduce the chances of future confusion.

  • See also trademark FAQ and ASF Trademark And Logo Guidelines.