September 16, 2014

MySQL Support or Support for MySQL ? MySQL Trademark Policies

What is the difference between “MySQL Support” and “Support for MySQL” ?
In my mind there is not much difference in meaning just first one is shorter and I would use it also because how people would search stuff in Google.

It turns out however there is significant legal differences – first one would be MySQL Trademark violation but not the second one.
I learned it because MySQL contacted me about our consulting company new “corporate” site and rename Services appropriately.

As Monty explained me once MySQL has to protect the trade mark in all instances as otherwise they may loose rights to it. So this is quite understandable. They however are also quite selective – google around and there would be plenty of companies out where which will offer you services named “MySQL Support” or “MySQL Consulting”

The most well case known with MySQL Trademark enforcement so far is perhaps MySQL Front which MySQL asked to be renamed but MySQL Front team instead selected to stop the project.

What worries me is situation with a lot of Open Source project which use MySQL in the name – there is MySQL Toolkit, MySQL Master Master Manager, MySQL Slow Log Analyzer and a lot of others.

Unless developers have secured permission from MySQL these products can be at risk and MySQL may request them to be renamed. As I understand what you’re Open Source Project and make no money out of it does not help here.

Other Projects are smarter with naming, like InnoTop or MyTop which hint on the product names but do not use them directly.

About Peter Zaitsev

Peter managed the High Performance Group within MySQL until 2006, when he founded Percona. Peter has a Master's Degree in Computer Science and is an expert in database kernels, computer hardware, and application scaling.

Comments

  1. Cesar says:

    MySqlFront in fact was renamed to HeidiSQL (http://www.heidisql.com/), the developer dint stop the project. Before the legal notes arrived from Mysql, the original developer had sold the name not the project. Now it is a happy Open Source Project.

    http://www.heidisql.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=44

  2. Poonie says:

    None of the products you mentioned as possible violators have \”MySQL\” in the web site domain.
    None of them is in direct competition with MySQL services, as you seem to be.
    It looks fair to me that they want to disambiguate.
    MySQL toolkit for example is not in competition with anything MySQL AB is doing, and it is not selling anything.

  3. peter says:

    Cesar,

    Right, however do not mix “code base” with product name. For example MySQL is free to sell MySQL product to someone, which would stop releasing new versions under GPL. You can however take the latest GPL version fork it and continue development calling CesarSQL.

    The fact original developer decided to continue the project has nothing to do with the fact company he has sold it to decided to stop the project because TradeMark issues with MySQL.

  4. peter says:

    Poonie,

    I’m not speaking about domain name – I’m speaking about product name and service name. The company which sells our services is called Percona.

    Now trademark is not quite about competition – check this out
    http://www.mysql.com/company/legal/trademark.html

    “MySQL Toolkit” for example may leave some third party assuming this is official tool from MySQL, especially if they got it as part of distribution rather downloading from the site. Which may have MySQL blamed for problems it may have etc.

    Again my point is not to complain about MySQL is doing something wrong. MySQL should have asked me to do so and as you can see I’ve fixed it.

    The point is simply – you should be careful when you naming your MySQL related product or services. Not all Open Source developers may care about trademarks and they should.

    Indeed as MySQL Toolkit and other tools mentioned do not compete with MySQL offerings – their authors can try to request MySQL permission to use their trade mark, and well may get it as original author of MySQL Front had.

  5. dormando says:

    Mmm :) This is why my proxy’s called “DPM” (Dormando’s Proxy for MySQL).

    Which has been my default naming scheme for software projects.

  6. peter says:

    Yes that is good choice. Also abbreviations are helpful because you always can change how it is translated without renaming product.

  7. Cesar says:

    Hey ;) Thats a good name for my next project

  8. Emin says:
  9. peter says:

    Thanks Emin,

    Wow, such a coincidence – when I write this post mysqlfront.de was saying project is dead and now I see it is pointing to sql-front web site.

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