[Osmf-talk] Question about permission to use OpenStreetMap name

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Thu Aug 22 15:54:25 UTC 2019

On Monday 29 July 2019, Steve Jackson via osmf-talk wrote:
> Is it possible for the OSMF to prohibit an organization from using
> the name OpenStreetMap, even if it had previously allowed it?

Frederik already explained the situation - but since trademark stuff is
complex i wanted to make sure to point out that you cannot probibit
anyone from using your trademarks in a nominative/referential form,
that is mentioning the term 'OpenStreetMap' when talking about
OpenStreetMap.  That is explained on


But of course - as Frederik said - the situation of HOT US Inc. is one
where it would be at least in principle be possible to prohibit use and
where permission is required according to the trademark policy.  No
matter if you think this use of the trademark is desirable or not, not
having contacted the OSMF about a trademark license for such prominent
use after the trademark policy has been in place for more than 1.5
years is a serious leglect on their side IMO.

Regarding the matter of anonymously bringing up matters like this for
discussion - i think the possibility to do so is important.  This
mailing list - because it does not allow free subscription for
posting - is not ideal for this.  On the other OSM mailing lists (in
this case talk or legal-talk come to mind) you can simply register and
post under a pseudonym.  And if needed you can - when posting there -
ask for a volunteer to bring the matter also to osmf-talk.
Alternatively you could also directly contact the OSMF board
(board at osmfoundation.org) or the legal working group
(legal at osmfoundation.org) about your concerns.  If that is not an
option for you a third option might be to contact your OSMF local
chapter in a similar fashion and ask them to bring the matter to the
OSMF on your behalf.  Bringing concerns of local community members to
the OSMF and speaking in their interest is one of the main functions of
the local chapters.

This mainly for anyone being subscribed here and who might be in a
similar situation as 'Steve' now or in the future.

Christoph Hormann

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