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Trademark Policies

    This document outlines the policy for allowable uses of The Graph Foundation® trademarks by other parties.

    Graph Foundation, Inc. (GFI) owns all Graph Foundation-related trademarks, service marks, and graphic logos on behalf of our Graph Foundation project communities, and the names of all Graph Foundation projects are trademarks of GFI.

    The following information helps ensure our marks and logos are used in approved ways by other parties, ensuring that we can legally protect our project brands as well as encouraging the use of Graph Foundation software and our brands in approved ways by third parties. You may contact us with any questions about this policy or any Graph Foundation trademarks, and please read our list of trademark resources.

    Graph Foundation trademarks, service marks, and graphics marks are symbols of the quality and community support that people have come to associate with projects of GFI. To ensure that the use of Graph Foundation marks will not lead to confusion about our software, we must control their use in association with software and related services by other organizations. Also, as a US-based corporation, we have a legal responsibility and the authority to set policy for the use of our marks.

    The Graph Foundation and our software products must be clearly distinguishable from any software that competes with GFI software, and from software or services by any company or individual that is not part of GFI.

    Graph Foundation trademarks must not be used to disparage The Graph Foundation, our projects, members, sponsors, or communities, nor be used in any way to imply ownership, endorsement, or sponsorship of any GFI-related project or initiative of any kind. As a vendor-neutral organization, an important part of our brand is that Graph Foundation projects are governed independently.

    This section is not intended to summarize the complex law of trademarks. It will be useful, however, to understand some key principles.

    What is a trademark?

    A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Throughout this document, the terms “trademark” and “mark” refer to both trademarks and service marks.

    These rules are generalized to describe GFI software associated with the trademark “Graph Foundation ProjectName”, or more generally “ProjectName” when it is understood to refer to our specific Graph Foundation ProjectName software product. Like most GFI software, this ProjectName software is maintained by the Graph Foundation ProjectName project, or by the ProjectName sub-project of another project, such as the “Graph Foundation Incubator” (itself a GFI trademark).

    GFI’s trademarks are either words (e.g., “Graph Foundation” and “Graph Foundation ProjectName” and “ProjectName”) or graphic logos that are intended to serve as trademarks for that Graph Foundation software. The Graph Foundation logo is also a GFI trademark for Graph Foundation software which has special meaning for GFI and special rules regarding its use.

    Within GFI, during our product release activity and on GFI websites, we will make sure that our trademarks are marked with a (TM) or (R) symbol or shown with trademark notices where appropriate so that everyone will recognize them as GFI trademarks, and by providing a list of GFI trademarks, and we provide a detailed guide for how to refer to Graph Foundation brands.

    What is nominative use?

    Anyone can use GFI trademarks if that use of the trademark is nominative. The “nominative use” (or “nominative fair use”) defense to trademark infringement is a legal doctrine that authorizes everyone (even commercial companies) to use another person’s trademark as long as three requirements are met:

    The product or service in question must be one not readily identifiable without use of the trademark; (for example, it is not easy to identify ONgDB™ software without using the trademark “ONgDB”)

    Only so much of the mark or marks may be used as is reasonably necessary to identify the product or service; and

    The organization using the mark must do nothing that would, in conjunction with the mark, suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark holder.

    The trademark nominative fair use defense is intended to encourage people to refer to trademarked goods and services by using the trademark itself. This trademark defense has nothing to do with copyright fair use and should not be confused with those rules.

    What is the “confusing similarity” or “likelihood of confusion” test?

    Some uses of another person’s trademark are nominative fair use, but some uses are simply infringing. Indeed, if a trademark is used in such a way that the relevant consuming public will likely be confused or mistaken about the source of a product or service sold or provided using the mark in question, then likelihood of confusion exists and the mark has been infringed.

    Note that, even if there is no likelihood of confusion, you may still be liable for using another company’s trademark if you are blurring or tarnishing their mark under the state and/or federal dilution laws.

    To avoid infringing GFI’s marks, you should verify that your use of our marks is nominative and that you are not likely to confuse software consumers that your software is the same as GFI’s software or is endorsed by GFI.

    The following Specific Policies apply to the “Graph Foundation” word trademark and the “Graph Foundation logo” graphic trademark, as well as the trademarks and graphic logos for all “Graph Foundation ProjectName” and “ProjectName” software produced by each of GFI’s projects. You may refer to our list of Graph Foundation marks.

    Examples of permitted nominative fair use:

    ” Free copies of ProjectName software and support services for ProjectName are available at my own company website. ”

    ” Derivative works of Graph Foundation ProjectName software and support services for those derivative works are available under my own trademarks at my website. ” Please remember that, under trademark law, you may not apply trademarks to your derivative works of ProjectName software that are confusingly similar to “ProjectName” or “Graph Foundation ProjectName” or the ProjectName graphic logo trademarks.

    ” ProjectName software is faster (or slower) than Myco software. ”

    ” I recommend (or don’t recommend) ProjectName software for your business. ”

    ” This is the graphic logo for ProjectName software. ”

    In general you may not use Graph Foundation trademarks in any software product branding. However in very specific situations you may use the Powered By naming form for software products.

    You may write about Graph Foundation Foo software, and use our trademarks in book or article titles. You needn’t ask us for permission to refer to Foo (ProjectName), as in “Foo for Dummies”, or “Explaining Foo”, or “Foo Simplified”, or “O’Reilly Guide to Foo”, or even “Avoiding Foo”.

    We request that you clearly identify that “Graph Foundation”, “Graph Foundation Foo”, and “Foo” are trademarks of The Graph Foundation wherever you normally acknowledge important trademarks in your book or article.

    Using the Graph Foundation logo to identify GFI and link to :

    The Graph Foundation logo is a special trademark to The Graph Foundation and we intend to prevent its use in association with other companies’ software or related services.

    You needn’t ask us for permission to use the Graph Foundation logo (the version used by us here) on your own website solely as a hyperlink to or to an appropriate Graph Foundation project, or in other materials, such as presentations and slides, solely as a means to refer to GFI itself.

    All other uses of the Graph Foundation logo must be approved in writing.

    Using the Graph Foundation Foo or similar project graphic logos:

    Graphic logos are contributed to GFI by artists as a way of creating a symbol with which the Graph Foundation project software can be identified. Examples of logos are the ONgDB graph. Those graphic logos are special to the Graph Foundation projects that mark their software and their project websites with those logos.

    You needn’t ask us for permission to use Graph Foundation’s graphics logos (the versions published on individual project pages and/or websites) on your own website solely as a hyperlink to the specific Graph Foundation project website or to All other uses of Graph Foundation Foo (and similar) graphic logos must be approved in writing.

    If you have any questions or concerns about the use of or changes to any GFI graphic trademark, please contact us.

    Using Graph Foundation trademarks on merchandise:

    You must obtain prior written approval to apply the “Graph Foundation”, “Graph Foundation Foo” or “Foo” trademarks or their graphic logos to any merchandise that is intended to be associated in people’s minds with Graph Foundation Foo software or any Graph Foundation software.

    Permission to apply GFI trademarks (including graphic logos) may be granted for merchandise that promotes The Graph Foundation, the Graph Foundation Foo project and Foo software.

    Permission to apply GFI trademarks will ordinarily be denied for merchandise that disparages Graph Foundation software or projects or that would serve to detract from the value of Graph Foundation software and its brands.

    The following uses of GFI trademarks are probably infringing:

    Confusingly similar software product names.

    Software service offerings that are for anything other than official GFI-distributed software.

    Company names that may be associated in customer’s minds with GFI or its trademarked project software.

    You may not use GFI trademarks such as “Graph Foundation” or “GraphFoundationFoo” or “Foo” in your own domain names if that use would be likely to confuse a relevant consumer about the source of software or services provided through your website, without written approval. You should apply the “likelihood of confusion” test described above, and please realize that the use of GFI trademarks in your domain names is generally not “nominative fair use.”

    For more details and to request approvals, please contact us. In particular, using Graph Foundation product names as second level domain names ( is not allowed.

    Certain GFI trademarks are reserved exclusive for official Graph Foundation activities, and the Graph Foundation logo is intended for GFI use at events in which we participate.

    Individual GFI projects (such as “Graph Foundation Foo”) often create their own conferences and events, or join with other organizations or companies to hold joint conferences or events. Any conflicting use of GFI trademarks (including trademarks related to our projects or products) in relation to conferences or events must be approved in writing.

    For more details and to request approvals, please contact us.

    Nothing in this GFI policy statement shall be interpreted to allow any third party to claim any association with The Graph Foundation or any of its projects or to imply any approval or support by GFI for any third party products or services.

    This is version 1.0 of this Graph Foundation policy document, published in 2021.
    Significant changes will be marked with a new version number.