The Fedora? Project (http://www.fedora.info
), a collaboration between Cornell University and University of Virginia , has developed an open-source digital repository management system. This project is result of a significant research investment beginning at Cornell in 1998. Release 1.0 was made available to the public as open source to the public in May 2003. Currently, release 1.1.1 of the Fedora? software is now available for download (http://www.fedora.info/release/1.1.1...d+Fedora+1.1.1
). At this date the software has been downloaded by hundreds of organizations and institutions across the world. There is substantial evidence for prior use of the name Fedora? by the Cornell and Virginia teams starting in 1998. This includes published papers, web sites, software releases, and public presentations.
In September, 2003, Red Hat, Inc. (http://www.redhat.com
) announced the formation of the Fedora Project (http://fedora.redhat.com
). In November, 2003, Red Hat announced the first release of the Fedora Core. Related to these announcements, Red Hat has asserted trademark over the Fedora name (http://fedora.redhat.com/about/name.html
) and announced its intent to formalize this through a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Red Hat?s assertion of trademark includes restrictive guidelines on the use of the Fedora name.
Red Hat?s use of the Fedora? brand name and its assertion of ownership over that name are of considerable concern to the Cornell and Virginia Fedora? project team. Red Hat?s guidelines for use of the Fedora? brand place restrictions on use of a term for which the Cornell and Virginia team have over five years of prior use. This position seems inconsistent with Red Hat?s stance on open source and its prominence in the open source community. There are also costs due to confusion about the name. These include misunderstandings in the open source community about the identity of the products and resulting work for the Cornell and Virginia Fedora? support staff due to questions unrelated to their specific project.
The Cornell and Virginia teams have taken a number of steps to try to work with Red Hat regarding use of the name Fedora?. At this date, Red Hat has refused our request to withdraw its trademark applications and reverse its claims of usage restrictions on the name. Cornell University and the University of Virginia are now considering various legal options in response to Red Hat?s actions.