Trademark Policy


Trademarks, service marks, and graphics marks of Lightbend are symbols of the quality and community support that people have come to associate with the Play Framework, Akka, Scala, and Spray projects and other projects of Lightbend, Inc. (“Lightbend”). To ensure that the use of Lightbend marks will not lead to confusion about our software, we must control their use in association with software and related services by other companies. Also, we have a legal responsibility and the authority to set guidelines for the use of our marks.

Lightbend and its software must be clearly distinguishable from any software that competes with Lightbend software.

Our marks must not be used to disparage Lightbend, our projects, or communities, nor be used in any way to imply ownership, endorsement, or sponsorship of any related project or initiative of any kind.

Who We Are

The VP, Marketing of Lightbend is the person at Lightbend responsible for setting policy and answering questions about the use of our trademarks, along with other responsibilities.

Description of Key Trademark Principles

This document is not intended to summarize the complex law of trademarks. It will be useful, however, to understand the following key principles:

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Throughout this policy document, the terms "trademark" and "mark" refer to both trademarks and service marks.

These rules are generalized to describe Lightbend software associated with the trademark "Lightbend", when it is understood to refer to this specific Lightbend software.

Lightbend's trademarks are either words (e.g., "Lightbend") or graphic logos that are intended to serve as trademarks for that Lightbend software.

What is nominative use?

Anyone can use Lightbend trademarks if that use of the trademark is nominative. The "nominative use" (or "nominative fair use") defense to trademark infringement is a legal doctrine that authorizes everyone (even commercial companies) to use another person's trademark as long as three requirements are met:

The product or service in question must be one not readily identifiable without use of the trademark; (for example, it is not easy to identify Lightbend software without using the trademark "Lightbend")

Only so much of the mark or marks may be used as is reasonably necessary to identify the product or service; and

The organization using the mark must do nothing that would, in conjunction with the mark, suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark holder.

The trademark nominative fair use defense is intended to encourage people to refer to trademarked goods and services by using the trademark itself. This trademark defense has nothing to do with copyright fair use and should not be confused with those rules.

What is the "confusing similarity" or "likelihood of confusion" test?

Some uses of another person's trademark are nominative fair use, but some uses are simply infringing. Indeed, if a trademark is used in such a way that the relevant consuming public will likely be confused or mistaken about the source of a product or service sold or provided using the mark in question, then likelihood of confusion exists and the mark has been infringed.

Note that, even if there is no likelihood of confusion, you may still be liable for using another company's trademark if you are blurring or tarnishing their mark under the state and/or federal dilution laws.

To avoid infringing Lightbend's marks, you should verify that your use of our marks is nominative and that you are not likely to confuse software consumers that your software is the same as Lightbend's software or is endorsed by Lightbend. This policy is already summarized in section 6 of the Apache Software License, and so it is a condition for your use of Lightbend software:

This License does not grant permission to use the trade names, trademarks, service marks, or product names of the Licensor, except as required for reasonable and customary use in describing the origin of the Work and reproducing the content of the NOTICE file.

Specific Guidelines

The following Specific Guidelines apply to the "Lightbend" word trademark, as well as the other trademarks..

Examples of permitted nominative fair use:

" Free copies of Lightbend software under the Apache License and support services for Lightbend software are available at my own company website. "

" Derivative works of Lightbend software and support services for those derivative works are available under my own trademarks at my website. "

Please remember that, under trademark law, you may not apply trademarks to your derivative works of Lightbend software that are confusingly similar to "Lightbend".

" Lightbend software is faster (or slower) than Myco software. "

" I recommend (or don't recommend) Lightbend software for your business. "

Using Lightbend trademarks in book and article titles:

You may write about Lightbend software, and use our trademarks in book or article titles. You needn't ask us for permission to refer to Lightbend, as in "Lightbend for Dummies", or "Explaining Akka", or " Scala Simplified", or "O'Reilly Guide to Play Framework", or even "Avoiding Lightbend".

Using Lightbend trademarks on merchandise:

You must obtain prior written approval from the VP, Marketing to apply the "Lightbend" trademarks to any merchandise that is intended to be associated in people's minds with any Lightbend software.

Using Lightbend trademarks in domain names.

You may not use Lightbend trademarks such as "Lightbend" in your own domain names if that use would be likely to confuse a relevant consumer about the source of software or services provided through your website, without written approval of the VP, Marketing. You should apply the "likelihood of confusion" test described above, and please realize that the use of Lightbend trademarks in your domain names is generally not "nominative fair use."

Important Note

Nothing in this Lightbend policy statement shall be interpreted to allow any third party to claim any association with Lightbend or any of its projects or to imply any approval or support by Lightbend for any third party products or services.

Policy Version

This is version 1.0 of this Lightbend policy document, published in 2013.


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