Like Tom Keating, last week I had it pointed out to me that the domain http://www.asteriskathome.com/ was pointing to the new Digium AsteriskNow! site.Â I did the same bit of sleuthing that Tom did, uncovering the fact that Mitchel Constantin was the registered owner, and concluded that either (a) Mitchel was a huge fan of Asterisk, and did this all by himself, or (b) it was further evidence that Digium is taking steps to protect the Asterisk brand. Digium marketing folks I metÂ at AstriconÂ had previouslyÂ confirmed that the company was moving to standardize use of the Asterisk brand and logo.
It turns out that the latter case is true.Â While Mitchel didn’t respond toÂ an email I sent him,Â Digium Sales and Marketing VP Bill Miller confirmed that Digium has bought the domain as part of their effort to exert greater control over the Asterisk trademark.Â They’re not saying Asterisk community members can’t use the name Asterisk in their products, but they are trying to shape how the Asterisk name is used.Â Acceptable uses of the Asterisk trademark areÂ detailed on the page titled Digium’s Trademark Policy on the Digium website.Â It is acceptable, for instance, to name a product ” [foo] for Asterisk”, where [foo] is the name of your product.
Digium’s moves to protect the Asterisk trademark are exactly what you would expect the company to do.Â Without these kinds of steps, the mark can be easily diluted by misuse, eventually becoming valueless.Â Â Â Moreover, the approach they’ve chosen is a rational way to allow others to use their trademarks. By letting people know up front what the rules are, they can allow others to use the trademark without entering into a negotiated licensing agreement with every vendor building a product for Asterisk.Â
One could debate the wisdom of pointing asteriskathome.com at a Digium site.Â Â That move isÂ bound to pique Trixbox fans, and arguably violates Digium’s own acceptable use policy.Â Having acquired the domain, it might have been better to simply retire it.