Plea for help from Horowhenua Library Trust


(by Liz Rea on behalf of the community):
There has been a lot of news in the last 24 hours – much of it has been collected in this Zotero group. Coverage of the story includes three radio stories, one TV clip, blog posts, tweets, Facebook and G+ updates. We are overwhelmed by the support we are getting from around the world – thank you so much for your time, money, tweets, and attention to our plight.

We learned a few hours ago of a press release and statement from a LibLime/PTFS staff member that states their intention to transfer the TM to the Horowhenua Library Trust. However, as of this writing there has been no official communication between LibLime/PTFS and HLT that I am aware of. We will update this post again when we have more information, and thank you again (and again) for your support.

Original Post

Horowhenua Library Trust is the birth place of Koha and the longest serving member of the Koha community. Back in 1999 when we were working on Koha, the idea that 12 years later we would be having to write an email like this never crossed our minds. It is with tremendous sadness that we must write this plea for help to you, the other members of the Koha community.

The situation we find ourselves in, is that after over a year of battling against it, PTFS/Liblime have managed to have their application for a Trademark on Koha in New Zealand accepted. We now have 3 months to object, but to do so involves lawyers and money. We are a small semi rural Library in New Zealand and have no cash spare in our operational budget to afford this, but we do feel it is something we must fight.

For the library that invented Koha to now have to have a legal battle to prevent a US company trademarking the word in NZ seems bizarre, but it is at this point that we find ourselves.

So, we ask you, the users and developers of Koha, from the birth place of Koha, please if you can help in anyway, let us know.

Help the cause – contribute to our legal challenge fund:

Contribute using PayPal

NZ cheques can be made out to Horowhenua Library Trust and posted to:

Levin Library, 10 Bath Street, Levin 5510

Bank deposits can be made to this account:

Te Horowhenua Trust, Westpac, Levin, NZ. 030667-0299274-00  REF: Trademark

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69 comments on “Plea for help from Horowhenua Library Trust
  1. Ian Munsie says:

    This whole story disgusts me. I’ve sent you a donation, really hope it helps.

  2. Doug Calhoun says:

    Before spending too much money on an opposition to the trade mark application I suggest you read the announcement of the acceptance of the NZ trade mark application on the website. The link is:

    The announcement states that LibLime intends to hold the trade mark in trust and “will not enforce it in order to insure that no individual, organization, or company will be prohibited from promoting their services around Koha in New Zealand”. It goes on to say that LibLime will transfer ownership to a “non-profit Koha Foundation” that will agree to a non-enforcement provision.

    If you choose the GPL business model you can hardly claim exclusive ownership of the name you gave it 12 years ago.

    And those who claim the LibLime GPL should be terminated should read the same announcement. It acknowledges that the Koha application originated in NZ and has since been enhanced by hundreds of individuals, organisation, libraries and companies around the world. “Koha software is owned by no company and various versions are freely available to libraries around the world”.

    Free copies are available from the website. To assert that LibLime has misappropriated anything seems to be picking a fight with somebody who does not want one.

  3. Chris says:

    Interesting spin you are putting on it Doug. Each to their own I guess.

  4. Sam says:

    Wow, that’s great news about the trademark being transferred to HLT. I hope it happens asap.

  5. Liz says:

    It will be great news if it happens, for sure!

  6. Chris Cormack says:

    Yeah, this is excellent news, I think it would be the best result for all around if PTFS/Liblime transferred the application. Would save months of further mess.

  7. unitron says:

    Perhaps the library should file for the NZ copyrights on LibLime and PTFS. : – )

  8. Simon says:

    Don’t spend a cent on legal battles. Publicize this. It is beyond outrageous: a US commercial entity deliberately sets out to take ownership over a Maori word with spiritual significance, meaning a gift given freely?! This is a sickening act of colonization and to take it to the courts is already to treat it with far, far, far too much respect. The money would be better spent on publicizing what this company is trying to do (and with the koha that was freely given to it…the shamelessness of this greed is almost beyond belief…).