In his blog Ted Neward posts a legal notice from RedHat's legal team. According to Ted, the note was sent to companies that offer Hibernate services. Ted's post points to Bill Dudney's blog that contains even more information. The legal notice is quoted as;
Dear Sir or Madam: Red Hat, Inc. has become aware that your company is offering Hibernate training courses. Red Hat does not allow the use of its trademarks without a written agreement. Red Hat is the owner of numerous trademarks, including but not limited to, its Hibernate mark, U.S. Federal Registration Number 3135582. RedHat has made extensive use of its Hibernate marks in interstate and international commerce in connection with the advertising, promotion, and sale of its goods and services. Due widespread use, advertising and extensive marketing, the RedHat marks have become famous. Red Hat requests that you immediately cease offering Hibernate branded training, as well as any other training that may contain Red Hat marks or marks that are confusingly similar. Although you may offer object oriented relational database mapping training, you may not use the Hibernate name to promote and advertise your products and services. We trust you will understand Red Hat's interest in protecting its valuable intellectual property and ensuring that consumers are not misled as to the source and sponsorship of goods and services sold and/or distributed under the RED HAT marks. We trust this matter can be resolved promptly and amicably and appreciate your attention to this matter. We look forward to your reply and request a response no later than {WITHHELD}. Sincerely, Meredith K. Robertson Legal Specialist Red Hat, Inc.
Unlike the comments in Ted's blog, Bill receives much attention from several big names in the open source world. The two that stand out are Gavin King and Rickard Öberg. Even more important is the response from RedHat's Deputy General Counsel, Mark Webbink.
Contrary to Gavin's statements above, you cannot offer HIBERNATE Training or JBOSS Training. This is an improper use of Red Hat trademarks in that the marks are being used (a) either as nouns or (b) to promote a good or service that is directly branded with Red Hat owned marks. What is permissable, and I am sure this is what Gavin meant, is that you are permitted to offer HIBERNATE(R) Object Relational Mapping Software Training or, as another example, JBoss(R) Application Server Training.
With this clarification one would think the controversy would be over. However there is still much discussion on the roles or trademarks and how they should be enforced in the world of open source. In the end one does have to ask as Ted did, is Red Hat the next "Microsoft"?