[Osmf-talk] 2020/Res29 Grant Cesium permission to use our trademark in their product “Cesium OSM Buildings“

Rory McCann (OSMF Board) rory.mccann at osmfoundation.org
Sun Jun 21 16:41:46 UTC 2020

Hello fellow OSM Foundation Members,

The board would like to address some of the issues Michael brought up. 
We think there’s been some miscommunication, so let’s clear up some facts.

• This trademark grant is for “Cesium OSM Buildings”, not for “OSM 
• This is not an exclusive grant. Just because the OSMF is allowing one 
company to use “Cesium OSM Buildings”, it doesn’t mean we object to 
anyone else’s making a product called “Rory’s OSM Buildings”, or 
“[company name] OSM Buildings”.
• Cesium & OSMF believe that Cesium requires a trademark grant from OSMF 
to use the term “OSM Buildings” as part of its project name.
• The circular resolution was short, but there’re many implied 
conditions in it, such as requiring it be nearly entirely based on OSM 
data, that the OSMF may withdraw permission with appropriate notice, 
etc. We’re not giving away everything.
• Passionate, volunteer mappers & coders & organisers are the heart, and 
future, of OSM. Projects like OSM Buildings & people like Jan Marsch are 
vital for OSM. We hope we haven’t hurt, or insulted, Jan by doing this. 
If so, please accept our apologies.
• It looks like Jan doesn’t need a trademark licence for “OSM 
Buildings”. If one was required, and requested, we would have no problem 
granting one.

This might be a language issue. You said this was a “hostile act [by 
Cesium]”. A new product might harm another project, but “hostile” 
requires malice & malafide intent (a “mens rea”). For the record, I 
spoke to Nakaner privately, and he said he didn’t know of Cesium’s doing 
anything bad to OSM.

If a company were actually being horrible to OSM, or OSM community 
members, (e.g., suing OSM members or flagrant reckless disregard for our 
licence & data), then it would clearly be no friend of OSM, and hence 
the OSMF shouldn’t help them. This clearly isn’t the case here.

The general nature of the name here puts us in a bind. This means a 
large number of descriptive names would overlap & clash with it. What 
should the OSMF do? Not enforce our trademark?

We hope everyone can cooperate and develop great things on OSM. Let’s 
work together instead of fighting.


On 04.06.20 11:56, Michael Reichert wrote:
> Dear OSMF board,
> I have noticed from your meeting minutes that Cesium asked the
> Foundation for a license to call one of their products "Cesium OSM
> Buildings" [1].
> There is already an open source project OSM Buildings (with associated
> business called 3DBuildings [2]). It shows a 3D view of buildings is run
> by Jan Marsch and has been existing since 2013 [3]. Jan is a member of
> the German OSM and FOSSGIS community.
> Granting the same name to a similar product of a different company gives
> an unfair benefit for one company. It supports their hostile act of
> using an established de-facto brand name. The Foundation should not
> involve too much into business and especially it should not give one
> party significant support/benefit compare to others without a proper
> reason (e.g. someone complying with the license while other companies
> don't). Granting a trademark license to Cesium does not help to maintain
> peace in the community. Therefore, I ask you not to grant an explicit
> license to Cesium. This does not mean that I ask you to enforce the
> trademark (which is "OpenStreetMap", not "OSM").
> It is true that Jan does not have a license for "OSM Buildings" either
> but granting licenses should not support name grabbing and hostile
> takeovers of established names.
> Best regards
> Michael Reichert aka Nakaner
> [1]
> https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Board/Minutes/2020-06#2020.2FRes29_Grant_Cesium_permission_to_use_our_trademark_in_their_product_.E2.80.9CCesium_OSM_Buildings.E2.80.9C
> [2] https://3dbuildings.com/
> [3]
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/w/index.php?title=OSMBuildings&action=history

More information about the osmf-talk mailing list