OpenMRS Trademark Policy

Open source software from the OpenMRS project is free to copy, to modify and to distribute. It is licensed under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 with Healthcare Disclaimer (MPL 2.0 HD).

Meanwhile, the trademarks for that software – including the "OpenMRS" word mark and the graphic logo on the top of this page – are kept as private property. Trademarks are different than copyrights, particularly in an open source community such as OpenMRS. Trademarks can only be copied for certain specific purposes ("nominative fair use") and they cannot be modified in such a way as to confuse consumers about the origin of the FOSS software ("confusing similarity"). (These trademark law terms are described more completely below.)

Examples of FOSS trademarks: Linux, Eclipse, Apache, JBoss, MySQL, Firefox, Mozilla, Jaspersoft, Hadoop, Java, OpenOffice....

"OpenMRS" is like those trademarks. It is a visible brand associated around the world with high-quality open source medical record systems and associated applications. It is a brand that was created by our worldwide community. Our brand represents our collective pride and our reputation. We don't want anyone to misuse or misappropriate our brand. We want the value of our trademarks to accrue to the OpenMRS project and its participants as a whole.

OpenMRS Inc. is a non-profit public benefit corporation that owns and manages all OpenMRS-related trademarks, service marks, and graphic logos in service of our volunteer community. As a US based corporation, we have a legal responsibility and the authority to set guidelines for the use of our marks. This Trademark Policy outlines how we use our trademarks and logos to identify OpenMRS® software developed and distributed by OpenMRS projects. 

The following information helps ensure our marks and logos are used in approved ways, while making it easy for the community we serve to understand the guidelines. If you have any questions about the use of logos or trademarks that are not addressed in these guidelines, feel free to contact us at

Rationale for the OpenMRS® Trademark Policy

OpenMRS trademarks, service marks, and graphic marks are symbols of the quality and community support that people have come to associate with projects of the OpenMRS community. To ensure that the use of OpenMRS marks will not lead to confusion about our software, we must control their use in association with software and related services by others. 

OpenMRS and its software must be clearly distinguishable from any software from third parties, and from software or services by any company or individual that is not specifically authorized and approved by OpenMRS.

We must also prevent OpenMRS marks from being used to disparage OpenMRS software, our projects, members, sponsors, or communities, and prevent their being used in any way to imply ownership, endorsement, or sponsorship of any OpenMRS-related project or initiative of any kind.

Key Trademark Principles

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

What is a trademark?

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 policy document, the terms "trademark" and "mark" refer to both trademarks and service marks.

These rules are generalized in this document to describe OpenMRS® software associated with the trademark "OpenMRS Foo™", or more briefly "Foo™" when it is understood to refer to this specific OpenMRS Foo software. Like all OpenMRS software, this Foo software is maintained by an OpenMRS project or sub-project.

OpenMRS trademarks are either words (e.g., "OpenMRS" and "OpenMRS Foo" and "Foo") or graphic logos that are intended to serve as trademarks for that OpenMRS software. The OpenMRS graphic logo at at the top of this page and described on the OpenMRS Logo Policy wiki page, has special meaning for the OpenMRS community: We intend that graphic logo to be used for linking third party websites to the OpenMRS website.

Within OpenMRS projects, during our product release activity and on the OpenMRS website, 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 OpenMRS trademarks. A current list of OpenMRS trademarks is at

What is nominative use?

Anyone can use OpenMRS 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:

  1. 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 Apple iPhone software without using the trademark "iPhone"); and 

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

  3. 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 United States federal and/or state dilution laws, or other laws around the world.

To avoid infringing OpenMRS 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 OpenMRS software or is endorsed by OpenMRS. This policy is already summarized in section 2.3 of the Mozilla Public License (MPL 2.0), and so it is a condition for your use of OpenMRS software and associated documentation:

This License does not grant any rights in the trademarks, service marks, or logos of any Contributor (except as may be necessary to comply with the notice requirements in Section 3.4).

Specific Guidelines

The following Specific Guidelines apply to the "OpenMRS" word trademark and the OpenMRS graphic logo, as well as the trademarks and graphic logos for typical "OpenMRS Foo" and "Foo" software produced by OpenMRS projects or sub-projects. You may refer to our list of current OpenMRS marks at 

Examples of permitted nominative fair use

  • Free copies of OpenMRS Foo software under the MPL 2.0 license and support services for Foo are available at my own company website. "

  • Derivative works of OpenMRS Foo 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 Foo software that are confusingly similar to "Foo" or "OpenMRS Foo" or any of our graphic logos.

  • Foo software is faster (or slower) than Myco software. "

  • I recommend (or don't recommend) Foo software for your business. "

  • This is the graphic logo for OpenMRS Foo software: <shown here> "

Using OpenMRS trademarks in book and article titles

You may write about OpenMRS Foo software, and use our trademarks in book or article titles. You needn't ask us for permission to refer to Foo, as in "Foo for Dummies", or "Explaining Foo", or "Foo Simplified", or "O'Reilly Guide to Foo", or even "Avoiding Foo".

We prefer that you refer to "OpenMRS Foo" rather than simply "Foo" in the title if it fits, and we request that you clearly identify that "OpenMRS", "OpenMRS Foo", and "Foo" are trademarks of OpenMRS Inc. wherever you normally acknowledge important trademarks in your book or article.

Using the OpenMRS graphic logo to identify OpenMRS and link to

The OpenMRS graphic logo is a special trademark to the OpenMRS community 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 OpenMRS graphic logo (the version published by us at on your own website solely as a hyperlink to, or in other materials, such as presentations and slides, solely as a means to refer to OpenMRS or the OpenMRS community itself.

All other uses of the OpenMRS graphic logo must be approved in writing by OpenMRS Inc.

Using the OpenMRS Foo or similar graphic logos

Graphic logos are contributed to OpenMRS by artists as a way of creating a symbol with which the OpenMRS project software can be identified. Those graphic logos are special to the OpenMRS projects that mark their software with those logos.

You needn't ask us for permission to use OpenMRS's graphics logos (the versions published at on your own website solely as a hyperlink to the specific OpenMRS project or to All other uses of OpenMRS Foo (and similar) graphic logos must be approved in writing by OpenMRS Inc.

If you have any questions or concerns about the use of or changes to any OpenMRS graphic trademark, email us at

Using OpenMRS trademarks on merchandise

We will typically grant written permission to apply OpenMRS trademarks (including graphic logos) for merchandise that promotes OpenMRS, its software, community, or its worldwide mission to promote public health.

Permission to apply OpenMRS trademarks will ordinarily be denied for merchandise that disparages OpenMRS software or projects or that would serve to detract from the value of OpenMRS, its software, community,or its brands.

Using OpenMRS trademarks in domain names

You may not use OpenMRS trademarks such as "OpenMRS" or "OpenMRSFoo" 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. You should apply the "likelihood of confusion" test described above, and please realize that the use of OpenMRS trademarks in your domain names is generally not "nominative fair use."

Using OpenMRS trademarks in relation to conferences and events

Certain OpenMRS trademarks may be reserved exclusively for official OpenMRS activities. For example, "OpenMRS World Summit" may be used as our exclusive trademark for our regular OpenMRS conferences, and the OpenMRS graphic is intended for OpenMRS use at events in which we participate.

Individual OpenMRS projects (such as "OpenMRS Foo") may create their own conferences and events, or join with other organizations or companies to hold joint conferences or events. 

The following uses of OpenMRS trademarks are probably infringing:

  • Confusingly similar software product names.
  • Software service offerings that are for anything other than official OpenMRS-distributed software.
  • Company names that may be associated in customer's minds with OpenMRS or its trademarked project software.

Important Notes

Nothing in this OpenMRS Trademark Policy shall be interpreted to allow any third party to claim any association with OpenMRS Inc. or any of its projects or to imply any approval or support by OpenMRS Inc. for any third party products or services.

OpenMRS is a registered trademark and the OpenMRS graphic logo is a trademark owned by OpenMRS Inc.


This text was adapted from the Trademark Policy of the Apache Software Foundation at