OGC fix their trademark guidance for ITIL, Prince2 etc

There seems to be a little common sense filtering through with OGC's trademark enforcement. [Update: no there doesn't. Stories coming in of obviously silly threatening letters being sent to owners of products - mostly books - that have ITIL in the name. One of the tales is in the comments below.]The following is what now appears on the APMG-administered site:

You may use OGC's best management practice word marks in a descriptive sense in any media to identify OGC's products provided that you do not:

Use the marks without the correct acknowledgement statement and symbology, please refer to Annex, at the first instance of usage;
Incorporate any such marks into a business, service or product name;
Connect your company, product or service name in any way to such marks;
Use the marks in any way that suggests a more general meaning (e.g. Use of "ITIL" to describe IT Service Management more generally is incorrect use. ITIL should only be used to describe OGC's proprietary form of IT service management);
Use the marks in a way that is derogatory (to be determined at OGC's sole discretion);
Change the marks in any way;
Use the marks as a hyperlink;
Use the marks in any way so as to suggest an association with OGC, its partners or its products and services;
Use the marks in the title or sub-title of any product in any media in a manner not consistent with honest commercial practices; and
Use the marks in any way so as to suggest any official endorsement by OGC.

My emphasis added. Finally the guidance aligns with what is actually legally enforceable instead of being the ramblings of some anally-retentive government lawyer. Of course you can write about "Owning ITIL". You must not suggest you are part of or endorsed by ITIL. (the ITIL Community website and a number of books are clearly pushing the bounds).

Seems to me APMG might be teaching OGC a little common sense? First the ITIL super-secret process assessment criteria get published, now this, and release of the ITIL exam stats.


Common sense in OGC's trademark and copyright enforcement?

Three years ago, I published my dissertation (PhD thesis, written in German), on the topic of "Tool support for ITIL-based ITSM - a model-based approach".

Last week, I was forwarded a letter, written by TSO to my publisher. The letter claims that I do not "have the appropriate licence" for my work, as I am supposedly "using OGC Intellectual Property". The letter also threatened that, if I "continue to use OGC Intellectual Property without a licence, legal action may follow" and encouraging me to "apply for the requisite licence via one of OGC's licensing schemes".

I am not aware that I violated any copyright or trademark - and no evidence or example of the alleged infringements is given in the letter.
Apparently, my book's title, which unfortunately contains the word "ITIL", was the only reason they needed for sending this letter. I used only a few short verbose quotes from V2, mostly on definitions (things like >>ITIL defines an Incident as "..."<<, stuff you'll be likely to also find on this or hundreds of other webpages) and two of the about 60 figures are similar to figures in ITIL V2 (but not copied).
I would be very suprised, if they have bothered to read a single page of my dissertation.

I am waiting for some clarification by them, as to which parts of my book infringe on their intellectual rights. I am quite confident that I have done nothing wrong (at least not according to German law and/or good academic practices), but the whole thing is still giving me a headache.

Right now, does not seem like common sense (or particularly fair business practice) to me...

We've been dealing with the

We've been dealing with the IP madness from APMG/OGC for two years now. We operate some popular ITIL products which will rename nameless.

As with Michael, this was all prompted by use of the name "ITIL". Even though we attributed the name everywhere possible, it was not enough. We wanted to remain in good standing, so gave in and have since been sent letters for IP licenses on all of our products (3 total).

My initial inclination was to tell them to take a hike, but its almost more convenient to pay the IP fees.

One item of note, however, is that they also demand an annual royalty for those who have an IP license. Crazy. And it's making us not want to product any more ITIL products at all, and focus on other IT certifications which require much less overhead.

Our legal counsel would fully stand behind us if we wanted to refrain from all of this, but its just cheaper to pay them.

Crown Copyright Re-Use

There are many confusing impressions in the marketplace partly because OGC allow their suppliers (TSO and APMG) to include two very different elements in one licence. My understanding is (correct me if I am wrong): The Trademark position (owned by OGC) is very different from the Crown Copyright (the content) position. Copyright is owned by the British Crown not commercial companies TSO or APMG (question can TSO/APMG take you to court over Crown Copyright if they aren't the legal owner??) and re-use of Crown Copyright is administered via the Public Sector Regulator OSPI. OPSI have delegated to OGC to administer the content re-use but on condition that they follow the IFTS rules (found here: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/ifts/principles.htm). It says specifically IFTS members have: 'An obligation to allow others to re-use information. The default position should be that information can be re-used unless there are strong reasons (for example personal information) not to allow re-use' also:
Simple processes, policies and licences.
Public sector information holders actively remove obstacles to re-use, and facilitate the development of new and innovative forms of re-use.
Transparency of the terms of re-use, including licence terms, where used. There should also be transparency about charges and the details of what information is available for re-use.
All re-users must be treated in a non-discriminatory way for same for the same type of re-use. Public sector information holders should not use their market power to compete unfairly by virtue of having produced the information.

The suggestion for all those getting letters is a) wonder why on earth people should volunteer valuable expertise in reviewing and writing ITIL content that they are now being threatened over b) use the escallation mechanism to raise concerns especially if you think that the IFTS rules aren't being followed regarding Crown Copyright re-use and c) always get legal advice on this complex issue

ITIL is outside OPSI

As I understand it ITIL V3 was specifically taken out of OPSI's remit and presumably the IFTS rules.

dirty deeds come to a head before Xmas

OGC have attempted to get ITIL and PRINCE2 beyond the reach of IFTS because - so it is rumoured - OGC had been tasked with being a profit-centre. Ever wonder why some of the highest paid civil servants in the whole of the UK work(ed) for OGC? Whether they have the same mercenary mission now they are part of the Cabinet Office remains to be seen.

Earlier this year we heard that OGC would be getting a full IFTS audit and the results are expected any day now. Personally I'm not sure that OPSI will crack them open. Even with all the distractions of being swallowed, OGC have had a year to rally support and bring influence to bear. I suspect they might just manage to keep their prime earners out of reach. We may know before Christmas.

[Update: ...and I was proved right. The audit was defused and OGC escaped IFTS.]

common sense

Thank-you Michael for sharing your story. I'm sure you are not alone.

If they persist in this silliness, you might consult an international intellectual property lawyer, as I did. Your work does not purport to be part of nor affiliated with ITIL, so it would seem to be "consistent with honest commercial practices". The challenge you face is that you are not dealing with common sense. I cannot advise you but personally I'd be tempted to tell them to go **** themselves.

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