About the name: the myelin substance accelerates our thoughts by making neurons much more efficient at conducting electricity. The Mylyn name is a tribute to this substance, as many users claim that our tools increase efficiency to the point where we can code at the speed of thought. The preferred pronunciation is 'mIl&n, like saying "my" and "lynn" quickly.
The Eclipse Foundation takes a lot of pride from the efforts it puts into shipping clean intellectual property. We want our ecosystem to be able to adopt technology from our projects without fear of encumbrances. Trademarks are intellectual property, so we must ensure that we have clear provenance of Eclipse trademarks as well.
The Eclipse Foundation is currently going through the process of re-writing its trademark guidelines to include Eclipse project names as trademarks of the Eclipse Foundation. As part of that process, we have learned that there are complexities regarding the assertion of clear ownership of the Mylar name. After much research and discussion --- including discussion by the IP Advisory Committee of the Board of Directors --- we decided that the best way forward was to change the name of the project.
We understand the marketing and technical issues to the Mylar project, community and adopters related to this name change. We have not taken this decision lightly, and we all wish that this change did not have to happen or that we had discovered the issues earlier. The popularity of the Mylar project has been growing very rapidly, and this is the best decision for the project, as well as the overall Eclipse community and ecosystem.
In most cases, trademarks are restricted to a particular field of use and related areas. However, Mylar was invented and registered as a mark in the 1950’s and has been a well-protected mark. Mylar is a mark coined by its owner --- as opposed to an English language word that was adopted as a trademark. Therefore, its owner may have a very strong claim against anyone who uses Mylar in any sense, including software.
A company can assert trademark rights in a mark which happens to be someone's surname. The strength of the mark is a function of whether that surname is a real word, and whether that surname is already being used as a trademark, by the surname holder or someone else. In this case, there is no evidence that Mylar was used as a trademark by more than one company. Thus, there is a good argument to the strength of that mark.
We considered a large number of possible options. But since we are going through the process of changing the name it made the most sense to change it to a name which has no obvious encumbrances. Under trademark law, there are possible complications with those names based on the possibility that they may be perceived as “confusingly similar” to Mylar. We like the Mylyn name, its connotations, and the fact that it was created by the project’s committers.
No, Eclipse’s projects must align their names with the name spaces they use. The right time to do this for the Mylar project was just prior to the Europa release when adopters had to port from the Mylar 1.0 to the Mylyn 2.0 APIs. We do appreciate that there is a significant possibility that this change will be disruptive to users and adopters. We are making sure that this change is well publicized to the community and are taking technical steps to make the switch as painless as possible.
As you migrate to the new version of Mylyn shipping with the Eclipse Europa release in June 2007, you should ensure that you update your product documentation to reflect the new name.