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Firebird Brand FAQ
Policy Concerning Use of the Firebird Trademark and Associated Marks

The voting members of the Firebird Foundation Incorporated at the Annual General Meeting in October 2010 authorised their executive committee to add further clarifying examples and to proceed to ratify this policy on their behalf. It was ratified by the committee on 30 March, 2011.

Preamble

The Firebird brand (name and associated images) is a protected trademark for International Class 9 Goods and Services. Its usage is controlled by the Firebird Foundation Incorporated. International treaties acknowledge the overriding right of the Foundation to the usage of the brand in that class as long as our usage remains active and we actively protect it against unauthorised use for other goods and services covered by the same class.

The purpose of publishing this policy is to help members of the Firebird community and the public at large to understand how our name and marks may or may not be used without violating our rights. The aim is to be as flexible as possible, whilst still asserting the right of the Firebird Foundation to prevent people from using Firebird's marks in unsuitable ways.

Use of the Firebird Trademark

Fair use is broadly defined as: "to the benefit of the Firebird community at large, and not of an individual or company in particular". It is quite a broad term but, ultimately the Firebird Foundation, through its executive committee, decides what is considered fair use and what is not.

Anyone in doubt is advised to apply to the committee, providing a description of intended usage and why s/he believes that usage should be authorised. The contact email address is contactff AT firebirdsql DOT org.

Exemptions

Examples of those who would not have to secure written authority to use the word Firebird:
  • A user group formed specifically for informing, involving and educating users of the Firebird RDBMS in any country
  • An open source package called Firebird that provides the source code and/or binaries of our products for a Linux distribution
  • An independent web site that exists specifically for informing, involving or educating users of the Firebird RDBMS, e.g., firebirdnews.org. However, if the website trades goods or services commercially, or begins to do so without applying for authority, then the "commercial use" rules below become applicable.
Commercial Use

Commercial use of the marks requires an agreement with the Firebird Foundation, through a decision made by the Committee. Everyone has to go through the same process, without exceptions for anyone. The policy and the terms of each case regarding marks are managed by the Foundation in the interests of the community. The Committee can revoke the right to use the trademark immediately if the organization is found to be using it improperly.

Use of the Firebird logo

Projects and companies that use Firebird are encouraged to show a form of the Firebird logo on their websites, brochures, promotional posters, packaging and elsewhere, wherever it is appropriate to indicate suitability of products and services for use with the Firebird RDBMS or the inclusion of Firebird as a component of a product, service or event. However, the use of the logo, or a likeness of it, in a company or product logo or for any other commercial or promotional purpose, is not allowed, except an explicit form of usage that has been authorised in writing by the Firebird Foundation.

Regional Firebird user groups have tacit permission to use the logo in their promotional materials, t-shirts, etc., as long as they make no direct profit from it. Where promotional items bearing the Firebird logo, or a form of it, are sold for profit, permission must be applied for and would normally be granted, provided there was an undertaking to contribute a specified percentage of that profit to the funds of the Foundation.

Who Can Use Firebird Branding on Websites?

If you are using Firebird in your products or as the back-end to your website, you are encouraged to use one of our gloat logos wherever you like. If you are a member or a sponsor, you are entitled to use the appropriate "supporting Firebird" logo while your membership or sponsorship is active. Ad hoc donors are welcome to use the "I donated to Firebird" button image for one year.

If you are the coordinator of a non-commercial open source project related to Firebird, you may use the official Firebird images on your project's home pages. We encourage you to inform us when you do so, as it will help us to keep track of what is happening in our wider technical community.

Otherwise, nobody, other than the active Firebird codeworkers, has the automatic right to use the official Firebird logo images on websites, promotional materials, products, publications or stationery, either as-is or as part of another logo. Permission and approval of the form of usage must be obtained. Companies and individuals that contribute actively to Firebird development have a stronger case for approval than non-contributors.

Fair Use FAQ

Following are some use cases showing how "fair use" of the trademark might be determined.

I want to add a page about Firebird and include the name and logo on our website. Can I do that without potential infringement?


Yes. As long as you are careful to make it clear who created Firebird and what it is, this is a classic case of fair use. You should add the text "Firebird is a registered trademark of the Firebird Foundation" if it is in a product overview, marketing brochure or similar printed or digital document. If you are just talking about Firebird in general and you link to the Firebird site (http://firebirdsql.org), this is perfectly acceptable.

There must be no implication, intentional or otherwise, that you or anyone other than the Firebird project developers, are the owner or creator of Firebird.


I want to start a Firebird user group in my city/country. Can I do this without explicit permission from the Firebird Foundation?

Yes. You are free to create a user group using the name as long as it is not for profit and is not misleading about the origins and ownership of Firebird. Use of the brand is accepted as long as the user group is representative, active and open to newcomers. The use may be suspended by the Foundation if these conditions are not respected. For example, it would no longer be fair use if control of the user group were taken over by a few individuals or a business in their own interests.


I have created a web site that has a catalogue of the different available products for Firebird called firebirdproducts.com can I do this without infringing on the trademark?

Yes. However, it cannot be a for-profit site whose function is for selling the products or commercial services, etc., that you list. Non-profit use is OK. The web site can make revenue by showing advertisements, etc., as long as the returns are put back into your infrastructure to cover operating expenses like server hosting, etc.


I have created a Firebird package for my favorite Linux distro, using the official sources from the Firebird Project. Can I name the package Firebird?

If the package is anything other than a platform-specific build of the components of the Firebird RDBMS, you cannot rightfully use the name "Firebird" outright.

Otherwise, as long as it is under an approved OSI licence, we have no problem with you using the Firebird name as a part of your package name. Be careful to choose a package name that is distinct from the names of any packages officially distributed by the Firebird Project and its associated sub-projects.

If it is a commercial product in any way at all, you must apply to the Firebird Foundation for approval of a specified usage.


I am distributing an application (e.g. a game, an iPod application) that I want to name Firebird. I think it should be OK because Firebird is a database engine, whereas my application is not. Am I correct?


No, you are not correct. The Firebird trademark applies to any products in Category 9, which encompasses all software products. You need to find another name for your application.


I have created my own build with a few improved and extended features? May I call that Yellow Firebird?

No.


My new company is selling Firebird tools and extensions. May I call it Firebird SuperTools, Inc.?

No.


We are a publisher of technical books and magazines about database development. Do we need special permission to use the Firebird name and logo on such materials, including covers and promotional materials for these works?

No, this is fair use, as long as the marks are not being used to give the impression that such publications are in any way authorized or endorsed by the Firebird Foundation or the projects whose works they describe.


Our product is named "FB Toolkit". Sometimes in our promotional materials we refer to it as "Firebird Toolkit" Is that allowed?

The policy allows you to name your product "FB Toolkit". It does not allow you to refer to it as "Firebird Toolkit" unless you have applied for and been granted permission to do so. You may name it and/or refer to it as "Toolkit for Firebird", however.


We develop and distribute an application that relies on the Firebird RDMS. Are we allowed to use the trademarks to point out that FB is used?

Certainly, yes, it is a practice that is encouraged by this policy.


Is it OK to name our consultancy service "Firebird® Consultancy Group", provided we include the Registered Trade Mark glyph ® when we publish it and note that "Firebird" is a registered trade mark?

No. You may name, or refer to, your service as "Consultancy Group for Firebird® Application Developers", or something along those lines.
However, you raise an interesting point. Those who do use the word "Firebird" in an approved way are encouraged to include a note somewhere acknowledging that "Firebird is a registered trademark of the Firebird Foundation Incorporated", since making that known helps the Foundation in its continual task of protecting the mark.


Can I use the Firebird logo in the installation setup of my software, on an "Install Firebird" button?

Yes. This is fair use of the Firebird logo. (2012-03-12)


I'm a commercial developer of database applications. On my company website, I want to list the various database back-ends supported by my products, with a small logo beside each one. In the footer I will indicate "Firebird is a registered trademark of Firebird Foundation Incorporated". Can I use the Firebird logo this way?

Yes. (2012-04-29)


From time to time, the items in this FAQ may change, or be removed, or be added to.
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