A Boston, Masschusetts judge has backed MySQL’s trademark infringement case against Progress Software subsidiary NuSphere, but refused to rule against the company for infringing the terms of the open source general public license (GPL).
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) had hoped to turn the dispute between Sweden’s MySQL and NuSphere into a test case upholding the validity of the GPL. But Boston District Judge Patti B Saris’ refused to even hear testimony on the issue.
MySQL claims that NuSphere violated its trademark by registering the domain name mysql.org and using it to set-up its own MySQL database development community. This claim was upheld. MySQL said that this could potentially have led to a “fork” in the MySQL code, weakening the product.
However, Saris reserved judgement on the secondary claim that NuSphere violated the GPL under which the product was licensed to them. MySQL claims that NuSphere failed to comply with the MySQL GPL by not releasing its Gemini transaction engine, which works with MySQL, under the same license, as required.
MySQL also claims that it has received just $312,000 (€358,848) of the $2 million (€2.3m) that NuSphere agreed to pay MySQL for the licensing and distribution rights.
The GPL is widely considered to be a binding agreement between software developers, but its legal strength has not yet been tested in a court of law. Given Saris’ stance, it is unlikely that MySQL will be able to provide a test case for the FSF.
On the trademark dispute, Saris granted MySQL a temporary injunction forbidding Progress from marketing products under the MySQL trademarks until a final judicial decision has been reached. Saris urged the two companies to reach an out of court settlement with regard to the money that MySQL says it is owed.