Update on NZ Koha trademark.

Who would have thought that one little blog post on a Tuesday morning would have generated so much interest and debate and support.

Horowhenua Library Trust have been bowled over by the generosity of a global community who are as concerned as we are at the PTFS New Zealand trade application to register the mark Koha in relation to software.

We have received hundreds of emails offering support for fighting the ‘good fight’. I haven’t quite replied to them all yet – but I am trying . The press have provided balanced coverage with Radio NZ, TV1 and TV3 all reporting the story pretty accurately here, generating much discussion in Maori and mainstream media forums.

We have accumulated donations of about $12k, mostly through $20 and $50 donations from individuals around the globe (including many Americans) and the generosity of the legal profession offering free representation is amazing.

We have accepted the services of Sacha Judd, Andrew Matangi & John Glengarry from Buddle Findlay, assisted by Rochelle Furneaux, who have agreed to work pro-bono for us (bless them all I say). They have been guiding us for the last few days and are busy preparing a objection to the PTFS / Liblime application should one be necessary.

We believe we are well placed now to mount a strong legal challenge and we think we have enough in donations to cover filing fees, document costs and other disbursements. While It goes completely against my nature to turn down donations to Horowhenua Library Trust, in all conscience we should stop the fundraising drive at this stage. Rest assured if is necessary to challenge the PTFS application all the way to the High Court then we may well be coming back cap in hand!

PTFS have issued a press release saying they are willing to hand the NZ Koha trademark over to a non-profit representing the Koha community. That organisation is the Horowhenua Library Trust, elected by the Koha global community, and we would be delighted to accept that offer and add the NZ Koha trademark to the store of other Koha community property we currently hold in trust ie domain names and trademarks. It would be a very simple matter for PTFS to assign the existing application to Horowhenua Library Trust and we invite PTFS to do so. The Library Trust has never stopped any Koha user or developer or vendor from carrying out their business. Our track record over the last 12 years of releasing the Koha code and supporting the Koha community to go about its business unimpeded is exemplary and we have no intention of ever changing that approach.

Tagged with: , ,
11 comments on “Update on NZ Koha trademark.
  1. Sam Varghese says:

    This is the third story on the issue in iTWire: http://tinyurl.com/85te6qo

  2. Front page of the Manawatu Evening Standard, today

  3. Otuoma Sanya says:

    Not there yet, but almost and a great relief.

  4. Sam Varghese says:

    A pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon: http://tinyurl.com/dxuav3p

  5. yitznewton says:

    Wow, grass roots OSS community win

  6. So one thing most trademark owners of names of open source code do is prohibit people from taking things that are NOT the open source product, and calling it by the name of the open source product.

    That’s part of the point of a trademark, usually.

    Since at least some parts of the Koha community believe that LibLime is in fact marketting software that is not neccesarily Koha as “Koha” — I’m pretty sure this is exactly what they are worried about. Now, that LibLime software isn’t _entirely_ clearly “not Koha”, it’s a custom (maybe or maybe not open source) fork of Koha. (actually, at least two forks, including “LibLime Academic” which they sometimes call “Koha” and sometimes don’t).

    Anyhow, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what LibLime is worried about — the Trust deciding, possibly at some point in the future, that LibLime’s fork isn’t really Koha and thus they aren’t allowed to call it that.

    I am not sure if the Koha Community and Trust wants to preserve their ability to prohibit someone from marketting something that is simply not Koha at all as Koha (say a proprietary ILS that shares no code in common with Koha at all).

  7. Lee Phillips says:

    Thanks again to Jo and Horowhenua Library Trust, again. The Koha Community is the best example of a true democracy. If only our governments were so altruistic and work for the greater good all members of their society.
    humble thanks – from Montana, USA

  8. Sam Varghese says:

    Here’s the view of a lawyer on the eventual outcome: http://tinyurl.com/dydy25d

  9. Rachel Hollis says:

    I hope that any leftover donations can be used to purchase resources for the patrons of the HLT. A bookplate or some such would be a nice touch.