We, at Fundación, believe that the current Postgres trademarks disagreement should not require a years-long litigation process. Instead, we publicly propose here a solution.
Watch below our President’s message, in a short video (4:44) addressed to the whole Postgres Community.
Hi Postgres Community. I’m Álvaro Hernández, President of Fundación PostgreSQL –or “Fundacion” in short.
I’m here today to bring you an update on the Postgres trademarks disagreement. But more importantly, I’m here to deliver a positive message, to propose a resolution, a way to move forward. But first let me give you a little bit of context.
In 2019, and then in 2020, Fundación registered some Postgres-related trademarks. And upon registration the first thing that we did is to make them public for the benefit of the whole Postgres Community. We made them public on a website that you can easily browse at postgresql.fund/trademarks. And they are available at no cost, no strings attached, for free, for the benefit of the whole Postgres Community.
We did this with the best of our intentions. We just wanted to give these assets to the Postgres Community, the Community that we wanted to start contributing to. And we thought this was OK, as we saw other non-profit entities that have done the same: essentially registering some Postgres trademarks and offering them, for free, on the website, for the whole Postgres Community. And certainly, it is apparently OK for around a dozen entities, not only non-profits but also commercial entities, to hold Postgres trademarks. In our previous blog post we included a table with all the entities that hold Postgres-related trademarks, in which categories. It is a very detailed information about these trademark holders.
But then we realized it was not OK for us to do the same thing. We got two successive letters from a UK lawyers firm, representing the Postgres Association of Canada and Postgres Europe, letting us know that this was trademark infringement. These two entities are both non-profit entities that hold Postgres-related trademarks since 2018 and 2019.
Following a public statement by the Postgres Core Team on the subject, we realized that there was a sentiment, possibly a majority sentiment, that we should not continue holding those trademarks. Then we reacted, and less than 24 hours later, we made an unanimous decision at Fundación, which we published both on a private message to the Core Team as well as a public blog post, saying that we will abide by the will of the majority of the Postgres Community. Because that’s all that we care about.
Then we started conversations with Postgres Europe and Postgres Canada to reach an agreement regarding the trademarks. As we published on a previous blog post, we didn’t reach an initial agreement with them. And while we were in discussions about this agreement, both Postgres Europe and Postgres Canada filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Fundación. This unfortunately blocked us. Since that moment, we had the legal obligation to defend ourselves. Especially in the face of one of the requests of the lawsuit, which was a fine on us which could amount to a five or six digit number. We had to defend ourselves.
So as of today we are blocked. We cannot abide by our public commitment to stop holding these trademarks, until this litigation process finishes. But fortunately, there’s a way forward that doesn’t imply waiting, potentially, years. Which is to withdraw the lawsuit. If Postgres Europe and Canada would withdraw this lawsuit, we would be able, next day, immediately, to finally abide by our public commitment. And then this ongoing disagreement will be gone, forever. And all of us will all be able to go back, full time, to our duties in best serving the Postgres Community.
This message is a call for unity, a call for action and working together. Doing what we should do as the Postgres Community: work together towards the same goal. More importantly, to finally solve this disagreement and have it gone forever. This is our message. I hope it will find you well. If you have further questions feel free to reach out to us.
Thank you very much for your time.