All Apache Podlings, and any Apache TLP must use this process when coming up with a new project name, or when coming up with a name for a new subproject or downloadable software module.

Why do we need a project/product naming process?

When it comes to trademarks conflicts it might be necessary to show other parties that ASF trademarks were chosen in good faith and with appropriate research. As a non-profit, we have no business infringing on pre-existing trademarks for the software products or services from other organizations. As the Apache Software Foundation has grown to a respectable size which became home of numerous projects, it has also become necessary to oversee the newly created trademarks for projects and products and document how they have been established.

Who needs this process?

  • Every project which wants to name or rename a new product
  • Every project which wants to rename the project itself
  • Every Incubator Podling which wants to graduate from the Incubator and become either a top level project or a sub project
  • Every project which is created without going through the Incubator

When do I need to start this process?

You need to start this process early enough to complete your search and to give the trademarks committee time to review. Preferably start this process well before:

  • your project graduates from the Apache Incubator
  • you release any software products with the name
  • you publish any product / project websites (exception: Incubator pages)

Please note: renaming projects (later, if a change is required) requires a lot of resources from our Infrastructure team. It is recommended to run the process as early as possible. Incubator podlings could run it after they have been accepted, but before they start to request resources. This will cause a few days delay, but might save a lot of trouble later.

How does it work?

After you have carefully read Project Naming And Descriptions and the trademarks main page and some common-sense hints for choosing names, make sure your PMC (Podlings: PPMC) has decided on a name. Usually this is done by a public vote.

When your PMC has decided on a name, a "suitable name search" must be done.

Create an Name Search issue

First, create a an issue in Suitable Names Search JIRA space. Good examples are:

Describe the origin of your name and please include a description of the product's functionality in the issue. It's important to understand what kind of functionality the product offers if there is a question with another company's similarly named software product.

Research

Please consider to research at least the following sources:

Start by searching for just your chosen name, for example "Foo". If that finds a lot of hits that are clearly unrelated, try searching for "Foo software". This is the first step to narrowing to relevant results, since trademarks generally only apply within a specific class of goods - in our case, the software products we offer for download.

Note all results in the according JIRA issues. When done, inform trademarks @ apache.org that you have finished your research. Please wait, until the trademarks team has responded.

Please don't include any interpretation in the JIRA issue, just try to note all facts you can find. If you have specific questions on what the results mean, please ask trademarks@ and include your project/podling's private mailing list (i.e. not your public dev@ list).

Result interpretation & Approval

The trademarks team will interpret your findings and probably discuss it on trademarks@apache.org (please note: this is a private list, all messages from there should be treated as such).

The VP, Apache Brand Management will finally approve your request.

Important: you must wait until your trademark has been approved. There is no lazy consensus.

Once the name is approved, you can resolve the JIRA issue and work with your new trademark. Incubator Podlings: please don't forget to update your Incubator status page.