What’s in a Name? Everything!

Peter makes an interesting post about the MySQL company’s trademarks at http://www.mysqlperformanceblog.com/2007/10/26/mysql-support-or-support-for-mysql-mysql-trademark-policies/

The point is that Peter is not selling “MySQL Support” — he is selling “Support *for* MySQL”. “MySQL Support” is the name of a product that MySQL offers. Even if some other consulting company used the name before the MySQL company ever did, MySQL still has the rights to the name.

I chose to name my podcast “OurSQL: The MySQL Database Podcast for the Community, By the Community.” I chose every word carefully. For instance, I call it “the MySQL Database Podcast” so that anyone looking for a podcast about “database” will find it.

I could have just called it “MySQL Podcast”. But if the company MySQL (AB or Inc) ever makes a podcast, they would do the same thing to me that they do to you. I have to distinguish it’s “a podcast about MySQL”, not “MySQL’s podcast”. In fact if you look for “oursql” references, there is actually software released in September 2001 called “oursql”, but it was only released once and I have only ever found a handful of e-mails about it.

Similarly with “Technocation, Inc”. I googled around for it and found that a Baltimore, MD USA paper has a column called “technocation”, and it’s similar to why I picked the name — technology + education. But there’s no way anyone would confuse the two.

Same thing as MySQL would do if they made their own toolkit. “MySQL Toolkit” is in fact a really bad name because it’s so generic. Right now there’s no confusion, because MySQL doesn’t have a toolkit. Same with the “MySQL Magazine”. If MySQL ever puts out a magazine, they’ll send a letter right away. I was actually worried that “The MySQL Guy Podcast” at http://www.themysqlguy.com/ would get a letter from them. After all, there are plenty of “MySQL guys” out there, and he doesn’t work for the company……(hence why I’m the “She-BA”, not “MySQL Gal”).

In fact, Microsoft seems to do this on purpose. They named their database engine “SQL Server”. I’ve been frustrated when I get Microsoft pages when I’m just looking for “something relating to SQL”. I’d much rather get something related to the SQL standard. Same with their “Windows Mobile” platform. Check out their list of servers on the right-hand side of the page at http://www.microsoft.com/servers/default.mspx — if you’re looking for “security” on a Windows server, chances are most of your search result will be for the “Security Server” that Microsoft offers. Ditto with “Content Management Server” and “Data Protection Manager” and “Speech Server” and “Virtual Server” and “Small Business Server”…etc.

If you have questions about Intellectual Property (IP) or Patents in the United States, I highly recommend retaining services from the law firm of Bakos and Kritzer — http://www.bakoskritzer.com/. It’s not just a law firm where my brother is a partner, it’s also a damn good one.

(Speaking of name, I will likely be changing my name in the near future to “Sheeri K. Cabral”, so if you see it around, don’t get confused. You can always find me at www.sheeri.com )

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