Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

Dear all,

one of the topics discussed by the SOLWorld Steering Committee in Cologne at SOL 2008 International Conference was licensing.

Generally, SOLWorld community is working under the SOLWorld charter that stresses sharing: “sharing is the key word. The originators of the approach, Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg, have not trade marked their work. Indeed, the SF approach itself is based on collaboration.“ and collaborative ethos: “It is important to us that SOLWorld retains this generosity of spirit and the collaborative ethos. No-one owns the Solutions in Organisations Link-up name.“ as its key principles.

Anyway it seemed to be useful to take certain steps to prevent others from trademarking of the solution focused approach. I made a brief research and what impressed me was the Creative Commons' approach.

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that “defines the spectrum of possibilities between full copyright — all rights reserved — and the public domain — no rights reserved. Our licenses help you keep your copyright while inviting certain uses of your work — a 'some rights reserved' copyright.“

They are based in the U.S. so their licenses were designed to fit the U.S. system of law. Anyway, main licenses are now transliterated to meet the international and national terms of authors' law (for details please visit the Creative Commons' websites).

At their websites they are mentioning the "Founders Copyright" as well. Perhaps this could be a way how to prevent unauthorized trademarking of SF approach?, despite of the Creative Commons' licences were primarily aimed to be used by the software developers.

Any comments to this topics are welcomed.

Best wishes,


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Hi Kamilla,

There was already a very engaged discussion about this topic here:
and here: and the replies following this posting.
Reading all this I have the impression, that "licensing" is not seen as a very useful mean by a lot of community members.
And I also see a very practical point: How can such "licensing" work on a background of a lot of already existing and established organisations offering courses in SF, see for example those:

So, I think, we should focus on other means but "licensing" to spread out SF.

Hello Hans-Peter,

Thank you for your comments, I promis to read above mentioned discussions.

Anyway, I'd like to explain again the Creative Commons philosophy - it is mostly simillar to "copyleft" concept known from the IT field than to licensing as such, so it is - from my point of view - more fitting the SOL charter principles.

I suppose to use CC licenses to clarify terms of use e.g. of blog postings, articles, etc.

... and there was a VERY long discussion thread also starting with this mail:

And, one more question:

I understand, that your intention, Kamilla, is to prevent unauthorized trademarking of SF approach.

So: Who, do you think, has the authority to trademarking it? Is it the Or the

Or the "SOL"? Who else?

And there seems to be a legal "fact" also: I learned, that it is not possible to trademark the wording "Solution Focus".

Hi Kamila and all,

This topic has had me thinking for a long time! I did look at the Creative Commons thing some time ago. One difficulty is exactly what would one be licensing? There are so many variants of SF etc that it would be very difficult (if not impossible). And also the collective wrath of the worldwide SF community (not just SOL but the therapy people too) would come down on anyone who tried.

I think the best plan is to keep on speading the word, acknowlege our sources, keep on writing and working. In terms of blog postings etc etc, the general idea of the internet seems to be to recycle as much as possible. If one doesn't want one's ideas used, one should keep them to ones self! ;-) (Of course, they will never be used then...)
Hi Mark,

Thank you for your reply. In fact, I had in my mind kind of protecting of articles, blog postings, etd. In comparison to traditional copyright laws, CC licenses offer several ways of licensing one's work and specificy additional conditons of its disseminating it in the e-world or in printed way.

Happy are those who are not too understanding, why I strive to do something such a strange - I am just interested to protect somehow the authors who gave me their permission to translate their work and publish the result... As we mostly had negotiated the conditions mentioned by CC as attribution-non-commertial-sharing alike (that enables to translate the article and to spread it for non-commertial purposes mentioning its originator/s), from my point of view was therefore only natural to add link to CC terms as well, as their principles are recognized and respected internationally e.g. by the Wikimedia, etc.

Anyway, I understand that others' views can differ, and of course I do not want to force somebody to do something like this... I just tried to recommend something what could be working. :)







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