Threats over legal action and abuse of OSMF trademark policy

This morning I have received a message from an OSMF representative, which was not directed to me, but received via our Dutch webmaster address. I am shocked to find out that the OSMF is using the OpenStreetMap trademarks as means of legal harassment to get in contact with operators of non-functioning legacy services which predates the existence of OSMF as whole.

As community member I would have expected that this entire email wasn’t send as: “Could we help with the operational issues of” instead of the latter, which ended up in my mailbox. Again: I am not the creator or operator of this service, and in my opinion this style of communication is not what OpenStreetMap started with nor should be used ever to reach out or acquire information.

How can OSMF help if it’s Lambertus that has abandoned , like if happened with the forum?

I wonder if the message was inspired by crowds of people asking the same question over and over about this site not working and not knowing that it’s not OSMF-operated (at least that’s what the cals for help suggest).

The request from LWG is quite reasonable to expect.

The bad service and the absence of any statement (service not availavle any more) of for example is a great annoyance for OSM community. One expects that * offers official ans reliable service, but that is **not **given.
No community member likes it if situations like this drop back to OSM at all.

If you see the increasing number of forum newbies postsand complains in this forum about this webpage (“button not found”, “no download”, … in “Question” or “Garmin”) you see a small part of the bad effects of the current situation.

I don’t know how OSMF is willing to help, maybe copy the service, launch a competing effort. Remove references to the website?

I think this underlines the demands for free services, from actors that do innovate, but later decide that they have better priorities in life. Considering the wording by the OSMF and you, I would respectfully agree if such choice was made by Lambertus. Especially how OSMF is contacting 3rd parties and are using the wording that they do, it becomes harmful to other initiatives in the community.

Really? Speaking as someone who runs a third-party server with OSM data on it I don’t see how that message is “harmful to other initiatives”. I’m not a trademark lawyer, but if I ran a site that had “openstreetmap” in the URL, the first two lines of text on which said “Free maps for Garmin brand GPS devices from OpenStreetMap”, that’s pretty much the message that I’d expect, especially when I abandoned the site so that it no longer worked effectively.

The problem is that people see as an “official” site (because of the name, and the text on the page) and when it doesn’t work it begins to reflect badly on the project as a whole. You can see that in all the forum comments and help questions, and we even get messages at the DWG about it.

Whether OSMF should incorporate something similar to is a different question (personally, I’d suggest it was a fairly low priority given that there are many alternative sites).


Andy (speaking in a personal capacity, obviously)

In the past I offered help regarding configuration of mkgmap to Lambertus, but got no response. I refresh this offer to anybody who is willing to take over the maintenance of or maybe implement a similar service. Anyhow, I fear the problems are not caused by mkgmap but the Web-UI, and I have no knowledge in this area.

As most people can guess that the mail quoted in the OP was from me (after discussion that we need to do this in the LWG last Thursday).

I just want to point out that it:

  • doesn’t contain any threats of legal action

  • is totally in line with the trademark policy, matter of fact it is a classical case in which we would want to invoke it

Naturally it would be better if the service a) had the required notices, and b) worked, because then we wouldn’t have to waste our time running after this issue.


Especially when that site has prominent Paypal, Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash “donate” buttons yet doesn’t make it clear that the money is going to a private individual, and not to the “OpenStreetMap” included in the URL and the page header. If you speak Dutch I guess you might guess that the “Lambertus Ijsselstein” on the Paypal page is a private individual, but most other people will think they’re donating to OpenStreetMap.

I’m not for a moment suggesting any impropriety and I think Lambertus has done Garmin owners a terrific service over many years, but I can see why OSMF is worried.

@Richard I wouldn’t say that we are “worried” but particularly when soliciting donations it needs to be clear to all (as in non-insiders) who they are going to and for what.

The thing is that we don’t even know if the actual operator is Lambertus or not (do I need to point to the difficulties with forum move to make clear why that is relevant). Stefan unluckily hasn’t given any straight answers.

It appears that lambertus is not responding to mails or other inquiries (and has not been for a long time, it almost looks like something happened to lambertus). I have no idea if someone else has control over but at the moment it seems not to be functioning. As there are other alternatives to get garmin maps I think the best course of action is to stop until lambertus or someone else can sort the site out.

Maarten, is actually community operated?

And if not, do you know who operates And a further question :-): how does the Dutch community feel about


It is operated by members of the community. Not me. The domain name is owned by Stichting, Lambertus is/was the operator of, I don’t know who the contact is for proper.
They are both hosted by Oxilion.
I’m sure we have no issues with existing but I for one am concerned why Lambertus is not responding. I also don’t know who has access to those servers.

There is a listed on the site. I guess Stefan is receiving those mails?


That was the problem already with the forum (which in the end was moved without his participation) and why I don’t expect any response from his side.

IMHO best for now would to change to point to a page noting the technical problems plus a list of alternative sites.



I think it would be a great service to everyone if whoever controls the domain could update it so that “garmin” goes to a holding page explaining the current problems. It’s still confusing new users (see and previous posts ad nauseam).

My next step would be (as there was no further feedback here) to ask on the Dutch forum if there is anybody interested in actively maintaining the domain and then take it from there.

Simon, I’m confused. Is the domain just running without an actual admin? Or is there noone running the subdomain management?
In either case, yes, we should move to find an admin. I’m willing to help out with asking in Dutch (not that this is needed of course, but it might help). We’d still need the owners approval if anyone were to take over.

I assume the “owners” of the domain can understand that a completely stale site is not in anybodies interest, but in any case I was not suggesting that the OSMF take over the site, but if nobody wants to actively work on it from the Dutch community we should simply close it down for now.

But in any case please be my guest and ask in Nederlands.

Just in case you didn’t notice: The service at is active again.
No idea if that means that someone manages it or if it was just restarted.

SomeoneElse wrote a to the point answer to that

The more fundamental issues remain naturally and if “whoever” wants to continue to operate it, they still need to address them.

I currently don’t know what the ‘legal’ status is of this domain name. It might be that the SIDN information was not updated, but since I did receive the transfer codes the technical maintenance and payments are at Stichting OpenGeo.

Last time when I actually removed the server from at Oxilion, there were some words exchanged with Lambertus. Since this was announced months before the actual event, no reply was received. I am using the email address he provided for OpenStreetMap related things, and forwarded every webmaster mail for Garmin since.

And some other helper elves giving Dutch support.