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Carbonado Trademark Policy


This document outlines the policy of Amazon Technologies, Inc ("Amazon," for short) regarding the use of the "Carbonado" trademark (the "Trademark") used to identify Amazon's Carbonado™ data access software. Any use of the Trademark must be in accordance with this policy; any use of the Trademark in violation of these guidelines shall automatically terminate the license granted herein1.

Amazon's trademark policy attempts to balance two competing interests: Amazon's need to ensure that its trademarks remain reliable indicators of quality and security; and Amazon's desire to permit community members, software distributors and others that Amazon works with to discuss Amazon's products and to accurately describe their affiliation with Amazon. Striking a proper balance is a tricky situation that many organizations -- in particular those whose products are distributed electronically -- wrestle with every day.

Underlying Amazon's trademark policy is the general law of trademarks. Trademarks exist to help consumers identify, and organizations publicize, the source of products. Some organizations make better products than others; over time, consumers begin to associate those organizations (and their trademarks) with quality. When such organizations permit others to place their trademarks on goods of lesser quality, they find that consumer trust evaporates quickly. That's the precise situation that Amazon seeks to avoid -- especially since, when it comes to intangible products like software, trust is all consumers have to decide on.

Overall Guidelines

Amazon's trademark policy is composed of a number of specific rules, most of which reflect the overarching requirement that your use of Amazon's trademarks be non-confusing and non-disparaging. By non-confusing, Amazon means that people should always know who they are dealing with, and where the software they are downloading came from. By non-disparaging we mean that, outside the bounds of fair use, you can't use our Trademark as a vehicle for defaming us or sullying our reputation.

  1. Non-confusing - You may not display the Trademark in any manner that implies sponsorship or endorsement by Amazon.
  2. Non-disparaging - You may not use the Trademark in a manner which, in Amazon's reasonable judgment, may diminish or otherwise damage Amazon's goodwill in the Trademark.

These basic requirements can serve as a guide as you work your way through the policy.

The lawyers also require us to tell you that "all rights to the Trademark are the exclusive property of Amazon, and that the goodwill generated through your use of the Trademark will inure to the benefit of Amazon." This basically means that Amazon retains rights to the Trademark, and your use of the Trademark does not transfer ownership in the Trademark to you; Amazon reserves the right to revoke its permission to use the Trademark at any time. Whenever you use the Trademark, that use is for the benefit of Amazon no matter how tightly you've tied the Trademark to something you're doing.

Guidelines for Printed Materials and Web Sites

The following basic guidelines apply to almost any use of the Trademark in printed materials, including marketing, fundraising and other publicity-related materials, and websites:

  • Proper Form - Amazon's Trademark should be used in its exact form -- neither abbreviated nor combined with any other word or words (e.g. "Carbonado" software rather than "CBN" or "Carbonadified");

  • Accompanying Symbol - The first or most prominent mention of the Trademark should be accompanied by a symbol indicating that it is an unregistered trademark ("™");

  • Notice - The following notice should appear somewhere nearby (at least on the same page) the first use of the Trademark: "Amazon,, and the logo are registered trademarks of, Inc or its affiliates. Carbonado is a trademark of Amazon Technologies, Inc."

  • Distinguishable - In at least the first reference, the Trademark should be set apart from surrounding text, either by capitalizing it or by italicizing, bolding or underlining it.

Guidelines for Software Distributions

Serious Modifications

Those taking full advantage of the open-source nature of the Carbonado code base and making significant functional changes may not redistribute the fruits of their labor under any Amazon trademark. For example, it would be inappropriate for them to say "based on Amazon's Carbonado data access software." Instead, in the interest of complete accuracy, they should describe their executables as "based on Amazon technology", or "incorporating Amazon source code." They should also change the name of the executable to reduce the chance that a user of the modified software will be misled into believing it to be a native Amazon product.

Related Software

The Carbonado™ data access software is designed to be extended, and Amazon recognizes that community members writing extensions need some way to identify the Amazon product to which their extensions pertain. Amazon's main concern about extensions is that consumers not be confused as to whether they are official (meaning approved by Amazon) or not. To address that concern, Amazon requests that extension names not include, in whole or in part, the words "Amazon" or "Carbonado" in a way that suggests a connection between Amazon and the extension (e.g. "Crassifier for Carbonado," would be acceptable, but "Carbonado Crassifier" would not).

Domain Names

If you want to include all or part of an Amazon trademark in a domain name, you have to receive written permission from Amazon. People naturally associate domain names with organizations whose names sound similar. Almost any use of an Amazon trademark in a domain name is likely to confuse consumers, thus running afoul of the overarching requirement that any use of an Amazon trademark be non-confusing.

To receive written permission, contact the Trademarks group, as discussed below.


Amazon has tried to make its trademark policy as comprehensive as possible. If you're considering a use of an Amazon trademark that's not covered by the policy, and you're unsure whether that use would run afoul of Amazon's guidelines, feel free to contact us and ask. Please keep in mind that Amazon receives lots and lots of similar questions, so please review all available documentation before contacting us.

If you have questions about these guidelines or use of this or any other Amazon trademark, please contact for assistance, or write to us at:, Inc., Attention: Trademarks,
PO Box 81226 Seattle, WA 98108-1226

1: This policy is based in part on the open source trademark policy defined by the Mozilla organization, available here. Per the terms of that policy, this policy is owned by Amazon and licensed under the Creative Commons "Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0" license. Details can be seen here