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Blogwatch: Mulitnational Seeks To Hijack "Koha" NZ Trademark

The Exemplar Of Stupid: Koha Vs Liblime Trademark

The Room of Infinite Diligence

It would be inaccurate for me to say I don’t get angry; it’s just takes a lot for me to really let rip. The following situation makes my blood boil so much that in writing this I am having to be very careful steps not to break a lot of my self imposed rules around rants. Please feel free to add appropriate swear words and angry gesticulations while reading.

Joann from Horowhenua has put out the following call:

Plea for help from Horowhenua Library Trust

Horowhenua Library Trust is the birth place of Koha and the longest serving member of the Koha community. Back in 1999 when we were working on Koha, the idea that 12 years later we would be having to write an email like this never crossed our minds. It is with tremendous sadness that we must write this plea for help to you, the other members of the Koha community.

The situation we find ourselves in, is that after over a year of battling against it, PTFS/Liblime have managed to have their application for a Trademark on Koha in New Zealand accepted. We now have 3 months to object, but to do so involves lawyers and money. We are a small semi rural Library in New Zealand and have no cash spare in our operational budget to afford this, but we do feel it is something we must fight.

For the library that invented Koha to now have to have a legal battle to prevent a US company trademarking the word in NZ seems bizarre, but it is at this point that we find ourselves.

So, we ask you, the users and developers of Koha, from the birth place of Koha, please if you can help in anyway, let us know.

For those of you who don’t know [which can’t be many] the background, in the late nineties the Horowhenua Library Trust decided not to go down the traditional path of changing their LMS and developed open-source product called Koha. This was given to the world and is now used widely internationally. A few years ago a company in the US called PTFS/Liblime attempted to hijack Koha and turn it into their proprietary LMS. They have also sort sought to claim ownership of the name Koha.

Sadly it looks like they are going to be successful. Now we have the ridiculous situation that they will deny the very people who originally developed Koha the right to use that name. What is even more stupid is that the Maori Advisory Board to the Trademarks people has approved this. Yep, they are happy to give a Te Reo term to a US company as a trademark.

UPDATE: Your can donate to HLT’s legal funds here.

UPDATE 2: You can also send cheques to Horowhenua Library Trust, 10 Bath St, Levin. re: Koha Trademark Fund…


2010 Background: Koha Community Squares Off Against Commercial Fork Koha is the world's first open source system for managing libraries (the books and periodical variety, that is), and one of the most successful. In the ten years since its first release, Koha has expanded from serving as the integrated library system (ILS) at a single public library in New Zealand to more than 1000 academic, public, and private libraries across the globe. More>>


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