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Re: [incubation] Question about trademark protection (AsciiDoc)

Hi Dan.

TL;DR: what Kevin said.

If you believe that an Eclipse Foundation trademark is being used inappropriately, send a note to trademarks@xxxxxxxxxxx and our trademark team will sort it out. The usual process is to first ask the "offender" nicely to change their usage, but if we have to pursue legal means, then we'll do that. It is the nature of trademarks that you have to actually enforce them or you lose them.

As a general rule, trademark management is about avoiding confusion. So, others can actually use the trademark, but they have to follow the rules. Using our standard rules, a project called something like "Foo for Asciidoc" would be fine, but "Asciidoc Foo" would not. The former form suggests a separation, but the latter suggests a tight coupling. 

In any context, the first and all prominent uses of a trademarked term needs to be marked ™ (for common law trademarks) or ® for registered trademarks). Asciidoc is currently a common law trademark, so the first and all prominent occurrences) of the name should include "tm" (e.g., "Asciidoc™"). Note that we follow the US rules for this.

Any project/product/website that uses the name needs to include a trademark disclaimer (e,g., "Asciidoc is a registered trademark of the Eclipse Foundation").

The Asciidoc™ Working Group can opt to augment the existing trademark usage guidelines with their own. I expect that the working group will initiate a compatibility programme to manage how folks may claim to be "Asciidoc Compatible", for example. We'll work with you in the working group to sort this out. Here's what Jakarta EE Working Group does.


On Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 5:26 PM Dan Allen <dan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
To introduce myself, I'm a representative from the lead organization for the AsciiDoc Working Group ( and Language Specification ( at the Eclipse Foundation. I'm also the maintainer of the Asciidoctor project, which has served as the steward for the AsciiDoc language.

As the AsciiDoc language specification gets underway under the umbrella of the AsciiDoc Working Group, I'm curious to know how the process for protecting the trademark works (in this case, AsciiDoc). One of the main reasons we chose the Eclipse Foundation to host the specification is to prevent the AsciiDoc name from being used in ways that dilute its meaning.

To cite a concrete example, we received the following announcement on the AsciiDoc WG list about a new project named asciidoc-hs that aims to develop a new processor for AsciiDoc. Here's that message:

I want to state right up front that we in no way want to discourage this effort. The goal of the AsciiDoc WG is to encourage the creation of multiple implementations. However, right now, there's no official spec or TCK in place for the AsciiDoc language, so it's not possible for a library to claim it parses AsciiDoc (apart from grandfathered projects like Asciidoctor and AsciiDoc Python). And since the project cannot yet self-certify as compliant, our understanding is that the trademark "asciidoc" cannot be used in the name.

What's the process for handling this situation? Will the Eclipse Foundation help with situations like this? How serious is the Eclipse Foundation about protecting its trademarks? How do we communicate with the project maintainer(s) that the AsciiDoc name cannot be used until the software is compliant with the spec (which depends on the existence of a TCK)? And in what way can the name be used once it is?

I look forward to your guidance.


Dan Allen

p.s. We have a similar issue with libasciidoc, found at

Dan Allen, Vice President | OpenDevise Inc.
Pronouns: he, him, his
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