We are using some open source code licensed as Apache License 2.0. From what I understand, we cannot endorse the company that made the code.

We are using it to develop an free app with micro purchases, but the code isn't actually located on the app, it's located in the cloud on our processing servers. Our app doesn't actually use any of the code, it uses our AWS servers for processing that use the code. It sends images to the AWS API then it returns them back after we have used the open source code.

Now, I understand we have to retain the license used so we plan on including it in our terms and condition page and making users accept it upon opening the app for the first time. My question is, can we mention in our app description that we are using the code?

Here is an example, can we do this or is this endorsement?

Our app uses a modified version of [original OS company ex. Twitter's] [open source package name ex. Mask API] to digitally transform the code into [whatever the code + modifications do]."


1 Answer 1


The Apache website's license FAQ has a very good non-laywer summary of what the license actually means. The part that's relevant to your question is this:

It forbids you to:

  • redistribute any piece of Apache-originated software without proper attribution;

  • use any marks owned by The Apache Software Foundation in any way that might state or imply that the Foundation endorses your distribution;

  • use any marks owned by The Apache Software Foundation in any way that might state or imply that you created the Apache software in question.

Your example statement does not appear to be making any such implication, so I wouldn't worry about it. In fact, you are required to have "proper attribution", in addition to reproducing the license, so you not only can, but must include a statement like that with your application.

There's also an item on their FAQ which clarifies what does and doesn't imply endorsement:

For example, it would be acceptable to use a name like 'SuperWonderServer powered by Apache', but never a name like 'Apache SuperWonderServer'. This is similar to the distinction between a product named 'Microsoft Burp' and 'Burp for Microsoft Windows'.

Just to be thorough, I believe the relevant part of the actual license is section 6:

Trademarks. This License does not grant permission to use the trade names, trademarks, service marks, or product names of the Licensor, except as required for reasonable and customary use in describing the origin of the Work and reproducing the content of the NOTICE file.

Implying that the entity known as "the Apache Software Foundation" endorses your derivative work is clearly not required when "describing the origin of the work".

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