Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2024


Figuring out trademark policy on the fly

A story from the PostgreSQL project

Copyright, patents, and trademarks are the three pillars of intellectual property law. FLOSS was born out of a desire for a new arrangement of copyright. This has been very successful and ample information and support exists for contributors and projects. Software patents have been discussed extensively, and, well, there is an uneasy stalemate(?). Trademarks have, in my experience, not received the same amount of attention.

In the PostgreSQL project, we have for several years now worked to sort out how to deal with trademark issues, what and how to register, what uses to allow, how to allow them, and we have dealt with some unfortunate and tiresome conflicts. The PostgreSQL project is not sponsored by a single company or association, which makes all of this even more complicated. We had to figure a lot of this out on our own (with legal help), and there was not the same wealth of information available like for example for copyright. I want to share our experiences, get some feedback, and make some suggestions to the wider community about what kinds of resources would be (or would have been) useful.


Photo of Peter Eisentraut Peter Eisentraut