Dries Buytaert

Drupal trademark policy officially available

Drupal trademark policy officially available

Just a short time ago, I announced the refresh of Drupal.com. As I announced in my post, Drupal.com has a couple of purposes: one of its key purposes is serving as the current home of the official Drupal trademark policy. As of today, version 1.0 is available and published at http://www.drupal.com/trademark.

I invite you to read the Drupal Trademark Policy in detail. It's full of illustrative examples, and I hope that we've made it as community-friendly as possible. We can't cover every possible scenario, but I believe it addresses most situations that are likely to occur within our community. It may — and certainly will — change over time as we keep in sync with the changing needs of our community and, if necessary, to account for unforeseen situations. That is important to keep in mind.

I've owned the Drupal trademark for a long time. The lack of a Drupal trademark policy doesn't mean the trademark was unprotected — it was protected by trademark law. The lack of a Drupal trademark policy meant that it was unclear what was allowed and what wasn't allowed, and frankly, that you were bound by trademark law. By creating a trademark policy and a licensing procedure, we've provided us options we did not have before.

The goal of our new policy is to provide guidance and clarity on how the Drupal trademark is allowed to be used. The only community model that really works is one where there is a fair-level playing ground for all people and organizations. Ultimately, that is what this policy seeks to accomplish.

The entire process of developing the policy was a community effort, with help from a variety of legal experts. We worked on the policy over the course of almost two years. A draft version of the policy was posted at https://groups.drupal.org/node/19068, and through the community feedback that developed there, we ironed out many of the wrinkles of my original draft. Larry Garfield, the Drupal Association's current legal representative has provided feedback, and both my own attorney (DLA Piper) and additional attorneys from the Software Freedom Law Center and the Drupal Association were part of the policy's development. To help validate our work, we reviewed other similar policies from sister projects to make sure that we were in-line with the current legal trends in open-source development.

As the owner of the trademark, protection of the trademark falls to me, and is managed by me with the assistance of my attorney, the Drupal Association, and potentially even local Drupal Associations. I personally bear substantial personal costs as part of sustaining the trademark in all its various geographic jurisdictions. To help offset the costs of managing the trademark, the trademark licenses, and to actively pursue those who infringe or inappropriately seek to use our brand, I will sell some advertising space on drupal.com and may also charge a small licensing fee to those that do not qualify for an automatic trademark license (section 1A) and that need to follow the license grant procedure (section 1B). Now the policy is published, I plan to work out the financial details in the next months so stay tuned for an update on that.

Most of you who use Drupal, commercially or otherwise, need not worry about how the new policy may impact you, though I certainly encourage you to study it and to apply for a license if required. For instance, in many cases, you are allowed to use the name 'Drupal' in domain names. Conversely, there are some Drupal domain names in particular that the policy seeks to protect for the good of the community and to create a fair-level playing ground. The introduction of the official policy is only intended to help ensure that the effort of hard-working Drupal contributors is not misappropriated. I think it will make us even stronger, as a community!

— Dries Buytaert