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From the Director, AJPO
Ms. Virginia Castor

The Ada Joint Program Office has announced that the Federal registration of Ada as a trademark will not be maintained after November 30, 1987.

Under the rules for trademark registrations, the owner of a Federally registered trademark must file an affidavit after the mark has been registered for five years, but before the sixth anniversary of registration in order to keep its Federally recognized status. A legal representative of the AJPO explained at a meeting of the Ada Board on October 27, 1987, that a decision was made over a year ago to allow the registration to lapse.

A trademark is a word, name, symbol, or device adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant to identify his goods, to distinguish them from those manufactured and sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods (see Title 15 United States Code section 1127). The AJPO adopted Ada as a trademark in 1979 and first used it on computer programs and literature associated with computer programs on May 8, 1979. The primary reason for obtaining Federal recognition of the trademark use was to be able to police the use of the term Ada and assure that it was not used to describe any unauthorized subsets or supersets of the Ada computer programming language. The AJPO has freely granted licenses to use the Ada mark to persons complying or agreeing to comply with certain trademark guidelines.

In July of 1986, the AJPO realized that, in view of the widespread use of the term Ada referring to the Ada computer programming language rather than a specific program or manual from the AJPO or a licensee, the law provided a method more appropriate than a trademark for recognizing the preservation of the integrity of the Ada language. The same section of the United States Code that defines a trademark also defines another type of mark called a "certification mark." Such a mark may be used to certify "quality, accuracy, or other characteristics" of goods or services.

In order to be a validated Ada compiler, a compiler must pass an extensive suite of programs called the Ada Compiler Validation Capability (ACVC). The AJPO has adopted a certification mark to show that a compiler has passed the ACVC and is a validated compiler or a compiler derived from a validated base compiler as defined in the Ada Compiler Validations Procedures and Guidelines (version 1.1 of which was issued in January 1987). The certification mark may also be used on certain literature accompanying or documenting a validated compiler. Information concerning the proper use of the certification mark was distributed to interested parties during the summer of 1987.

What this means to you as an individual or organization involved in the use of the Ada computer programming language is the following: the AJPO will not use Ada as a trademark after November 1987, it is now improper to indicate by use of the "r" in a circle trademark registration mark that Ada is still a registered trademark; and you should take care to use the certification mark only if granted validated compiler status, only while that status is current, and only on products authorized to bear the mark.

The AJPO and DoD will take all those actions required by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that the certification mark is used only by authorized persons and only to authorized products. Any user of the Ada programming language who becones aware of an improper use of the "Validated Ada" certification mark should notify the AJPO immediately so that appropriate action may be taken. Your cooperation in this effort is appreciated.