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Elastic forces Amazon to stop using "Elasticsearch" as the two settle dispute

Two reach a "mutually agreeable resolution" after bitter clash

Elastic and Amazon have resolved a trademark infringement lawsuit, with the latter to start removing "Elasticsearch" from various pages on its website as well as from its service and related project names in a major win for software company Elastic, which has repeatedly clashed with Amazon. (The term was still returning 3,841 results on AWS's homepage as The Stack published.) Other terms of the settlement were not revealed.

Elastic, which provides software used to search textual, numerical, geospatial, structured, and unstructured data, has been among the most vocal critics of Amazon for its approach to monetising open source projects without, critics say, giving enough back to them, and Amazon's launch of an "Amazon Elasticsearch Service" in 2015 particularly grated with Elastic (AWS has also launched managed Apache Kafka and Cassandra services).

Elastic changed its license terms in early 2021 , saying that AWS "have been doing things that we think are just NOT OK since 2015 and it has only gotten worse... Amazon’s behavior is inconsistent with the norms and values that are especially important in the open source ecosystem" it said at the time, announcing a move from an Apache 2.0 source code license to the strong copy-left Server Side Public License (SSPL) and Elastic License.

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Elastic has been built around the open-source Lucene project, with Elastic its originator and primary maintainer.

Its move to restrict licensing in early 2021 drew a reaction from AWS within 12 weeks, with the hyperscaler pledging on April 12 to turn from poacher to gamekeeper and fork Elasticsearch and Kibana, then license them anew under the more permissive Apache 2.0 to “ensure users continue to have a secure, high-quality, fully open source search and analytics suite with a rich roadmap of new and innovative functionality”, with AWS pointing to support from Capital One, Red Hat, and SAP. (AWS added it would build the project on Elasticsearch 7.10.2 and Kibana 7.10.2, add new features, and rebrand its managed Amazon Elasticsearch service to Amazon OpenSearch.)

Elastic launched the lawsuit against Amazon for trademark infringement in 2019 "because their use of Elasticsearch in their service name and related project names was creating confusion in the market" Elastic said this week, with CTO Shay Banon adding: "We are pleased to announce that Elastic and Amazon have reached a mutually-agreeable resolution of the trademark infringement lawsuit. We view this as a significant step in removing the confusion in the marketplace because there is only one Elasticsearch, and it’s only from Elastic."

“With this matter behind us, we’ll continue to focus on collaboration with Amazon for the benefit of our shared customers who use Elastic Cloud on AWS,” said Elastic CEO, Ashutosh Kulkarni in a release.

“We are seeing strong momentum in our partnership - from seamless data ingestion workflows and a streamlined subscription experience in the AWS Marketplace, to joint go-to-market and enablement programs. We are excited about the future and look forward to continuing to partner with AWS to help customers solve their most complex challenges around Security, Observability, and Enterprise Search.”

Amazon has been contacted for comment.

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