5 Nov 2013

Maori 'could lose' some claims to the word Koha

7:00 am on 5 November 2013

The developer of free library cataloging software Koha says Maori could possibly lose some of their ownership of the word if it is trademarked by an American company.

Catalyst IT took American company PTFS-LibLime to an appeal hearing last Thursday after the Intellectual Property Office granted it the rights to trademark Koha two years ago.

The software was developed in 1999, to provide a free, open-source database for libraries, which is why it was called Koha.

Chris Cormack of Catalyst IT says if PTFS-LibLime win its trademark bid, it will own the word Koha for anything to do with the branding of library software in New Zealand.

Mr Cormack says foreign ownership could mean if a wananga wanted to provide free software to kura kaupapa, with in-built Te Reo support, they could be prevented from calling it Koha.