Is Sun's use of the Java trademark fair?

Home

News: Is Sun's use of the Java trademark fair?

  1. Is Sun's use of the Java trademark fair? (32 messages)

    As the owner of the http://JavaToolbox.com site, I have been contacted several times by a lawyer who asked me on behalf of his client - SUN Microsystems - to change the name of this site.

    As you can tell from the name, this site references the development tools and libraries available for Java. Is a site like this a blatant counterfeit of the Java trademark? Is Sun abusing its trademark? How come Sun does not support community sites promoting its technologies?

    Is this site a blatant counterfeit of the Java trademark, as they say? Isn't this site about Java? Isn't it clear for everyone that this site is not related to Sun?

    Have they even looked at the site? Probably not. You know what? I think they don't care. It looks like they don't want to support people helping them doing business.

    It's funny to see how Sun behaves, compared to what Microsoft does to help the .NET community to promote and use its technologies.

    I also run SharpToolbox.com, a site similar to JavaToolbox.com, but for the .NET world. There are several links from Microsoft sites to SharpToolbox, I have been named an MVP, I have direct contacts with Microsoft employees, etc. The only contact I had with Sun: a lawyer!

    On more thing: they spend a lot of money paying lawyers and attacking individuals who are not able to defend themselves. But wait, isn't it strange that they do not attack big sites like JavaWorld, Javalobby, JavaBoutique, OnJava, O'Reilly Java, who do not even mention the Java trademark but still use "Java" in their names?

    What do you think? Is Sun acting nice with its supporters and the community?

    Threaded Messages (32)

  2. it's fair and stupid[ Go to top ]

    It's their trademark and they are (legally) required to protect it. On the other hand pissing off valuable members of your developer community is not a very smart move. I'm sure something could be worked out, if they wanted to.
  3. it's fair and stupid[ Go to top ]

    It's their trademark and they are (legally) required to protect it. On the other hand pissing off valuable members of your developer community is not a very smart move. I'm sure something could be worked out, if they wanted to.

    Yes, but trademark law is tricky, and gets more tricky when you base your trademark off an existing word.

    I almost think that Sun would be stupid enough to sue it's own developers. When I say Sun I mean management. I think Sun has a lot of good people in it, but I have 0 respect for the people running Sun, and less then 0 respect for Scott.
  4. I did this experience also,

    Sun Indonesia promote me to become the prefered partner, and we have a line of business, doing training using tomcat/webwork/hibernate, and we called it experiential on Java, and we put the java logo there.

    The sun regional asked us to remove it, and because after 2 week we very busy.

    The sun regional also remove us from the list for the prefered partner list. and we lose the sun server donation for our program.

    that why i remove the Java logo in our JUG Indonesia, and thanks to bruno that promote Juggy, it is common public license.

    i think Sun fair for this, and of course to restrict to us. I think this is because the Java trademark is his business and make money also.

    i think we must start to promote the new community brand of Java, will this Harmony brand or the Juggy brand.

    Frans Thamura
    Intercitra - JUG Indonesia
    Indonesia
  5. Are you the one running [link deleted for offensive content] too?
  6. Noisy posts[ Go to top ]

    Sorry about that, folks. The link's been deleted for offensive content; it might also be a good idea to consider that noisy posts might be marked noisy for a reason.
  7. Sun's lawyers are probably going to sue Indonesia for having the island of Java renamed.
  8. Java Island vs Java logo[ Go to top ]

    Java island is public domain, and there is dozen java company in Indonesia, and several of IT company open the company with Java name, like Javasoft, Java Solusindo, Jawasoft, and we have departement, Java Store.

    and the biggest event organizer that bring a lot of singer from US, named Java Musikindo is a big company.

    I dont think Sun will sue the indoensian company using Java, even in IT biz.

    so, i think several company that have java name in his company name, can come to indonesia and make the company here.

    I think i can help all of you.

    one company cost around US$ 1000 here. and legal. for expatriat around US$ 4000.

    i think this is a good game to play with Sun Java brand.

    but anyway, if harmony success, will Java brand control the world?

    Frans Thamura
  9. Not Only Noisy But Dangerous![ Go to top ]

    For guys like me who go on to websites through a corporate firewall/internet the messages like the one marked noisy above can be dangerous (= reason for termination). Couldn't they just be removed?!
  10. Beurk[ Go to top ]

    For guys like me who go on to websites through a corporate firewall/internet the messages like the one marked noisy above can be dangerous (= reason for termination). Couldn't they just be removed?!
    Oh my... It's the most tasteless stuff I've ever seen. I suggest to remove the link altogether to preserve the innocence of fellow Java souls. I don't work in a cubicle, but I can imagine the reactions of the poor guys who'd view this sort of trash in a corporate environment!
  11. Microsoft defends its trademarks, too.

    Ask Mike Rowe ;-)

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/internet/01/19/offbeat.mike.rowe.soft.ap/

    Peace,

    Cameron Purdy
    Tangosol Coherence: Clustered Shared Memory for Java
  12. Mama Java[ Go to top ]

    Microsoft defends its trademarks, too.Ask Mike Rowe ;-)
    Microsoft has way too many lawyers, that's right. Who doesn't ? Nonetheless, Mama Java is getting worried... Will Sun attack her too to defend their monopoly on the coffee cup logo ? You never know.
  13. Sun has invested a lot[ Go to top ]

    How do you know JavaLobby, OnJava, etc... haven't licensed the trademark from Sun?

    The Java trademark is an asset to Sun. An asset they worked very hard to build up and maintain. They've also spent a butt-load of cash as well. We're talking hundreds of millions here, not $5.00. Their move against JavaToolbox may seem silly, but the game of protecting your trademark is a tricky one. If you don't, then your brand becomes dilluted and less valuable of an asset. Sun is a business, not a non-profit free-love organization or socialist movement. Maybe they think JavaToolbox is a cool name and want to use it in the future? That is their right.

    I know Bela renamed JavaGroups to JGroups. JBoss used to be called EJBoss until Sun asked Marc to change the name as it infringed on the EJB trademark. JBoss is a much better name anyways, so I guess a thanks to Sun is in order. Hell, Linus Torvalds owns a trademark on Linux and went after a few people to pay up himself. Even Microsoft gets into the act. Trademarks just happen to be one of the biggest assets in the software industry.

    BTW, we complained and whined about paying for the J2EE brand a few years ago, but, in retrospect it was worth it. It got us into a lot of companies we wouldn't have been able to get into and let us do things like join the JCP, Java EE, EJB, JMX, etc... JSRs with Sun's backing and support. They've been really supportive of us since we've become a licensee.

    Bill
  14. Sun has invested a lot[ Go to top ]

    I agree, Sun has been extremely generous in my mind in spite of the fact that times have been tough. I think whatever they can benefit, the better.
  15. apples and oranges[ Go to top ]

    I also run SharpToolbox.com, a site similar to JavaToolbox.com, but for the .NET world. There are several links from Microsoft sites to SharpToolbox, I have been named an MVP, I have direct contacts with Microsoft employees, etc. The only contact I had with Sun: a lawyer!

    The word "Sharp" is not a microsoft trademark. In fact, it is trademarked by Sharp Electronics Corporation. The word "Java" IS a Sun trademark.

    I don't understand why you would expect Microsoft to come after you for using a name that they have no legal claim on.
  16. I suspect Sun probably doesn't really care if you have Java in your website title, but have to show that they are actively enforcing their trademark or risk losing it. Microsoft did a similar crackdown, because they were in danger of losing the Windows trademark and they started out by hassling small shareware developers. Sun probably figures they can make an example of your site without causing too much of stir. I believe they just have to show active enforcement of the trademark, not that the enforcement is even or fair. IANAL but that's my guess. JavaToolbox is a fairly obvious Java trademark usage, SharpTool is not. I believe you would run into that same problem with Microsoft if you had similarly used one of their trademarks.
  17. Sun trademarks usage policy...[ Go to top ]

    ... is available here
  18. "He said that Microsoft will regularly sponsor meetings with his company (which is a fairly small company, no more than 50 employees), where .NET developers come, teach them advanced .NET development, and show them tips and tricks of the inner workings of .NET. All this is considered marketing by Microsoft"

    When one of your friend's company developers deploy an application in the enterprise X based on .NET, who receives thousands of dollars due to license fees from the X enterprise?

    Answer: Microsoft (and nobody else).

    If another developer deploy an application based on J2EE who receives the money from licenses? Sun? maybe not, can be IBM, BEA, Oracle, Any third party, or maybe nobody!

    That is why Microsoft send you the architect for "FREE".

    That is why Microsoft consider everything, even you, "Marketing". For Sun there is another concept besides marketing, "Open Standard".
  19. If this is true, then it is very sad. I was just talking to a friend who is in a .NET shop, and he was telling me about how well Microsoft takes care of them: Microsoft keeps them in touch with .NET developers, allows them to submit bug reports and feature requests, which, although Sun allows the same thing now, Microsoft has been responding to them quickly. Overall, they seem very responsive and eager to help. He said that Microsoft will regularly sponsor meetings with his company (which is a fairly small company, no more than 50 employees), where .NET developers come, teach them advanced .NET development, and show them tips and tricks of the inner workings of .NET. All this is considered marketing by Microsoft, yet it provides a very valuable service to my friend's company. On the other hand, you have Sun, who was once an impenatrable fortress when it came to getting in touch with Sun developers. Lately, Sun has been opening up more (with blogs, conferences, and other things), but they still fall short of making developers and Java advocates feel truly welcome. They seem to tolerate the Java advocate, instead of reaching their arms out and embracing him. I have seen so many misunderstandings crop up over the years between the Java community and Sun, and many of them are never fully resolved (just look at jdocs regarding the JDK api docs, for example). It seems like when someone in the community wants to discuss something with Sun, they keep bouncing around from person to person in Sun, but Sun is never able to come to a cohesive decision (one person will agree, another will disagree, and so on).
    To be fair, my friend, who had moved from doing Java work to this .NET shop, lamented the lack of open source for .NET and envies the huge community that has sprung up around Java. So, .NET has an eager Microsoft, while Java has an eager community with a Sun who is slowly (I think) coming out of its shell. So far, I have to admit that I would rather have the Java community over Microsoft's advocacy. But how long will this last if Sun doesn't get its act together?
  20. If this is true, then it is very sad. I was just talking to a friend who is in a .NET shop, and he was telling me about how well Microsoft takes care of them: Microsoft keeps them in touch with .NET developers, allows them to submit bug reports and feature requests, which, although Sun allows the same thing now, Microsoft has been responding to them quickly.... But how long will this last if Sun doesn't get its act together?

    In the case of Java, Sun has provided access to the whole source code of it's development. So we don't need Java developers to come and teach the tricks. Through blogs they provide valuable tricks and ideas. For MS, nobody knows what's in their code, so they have to show the developers the tricks. This can be easily noticed as there are tons of libraries for Java and very few for .NET and that too some are ported from Java.

    PS. I don't work for Sun and I'm using C# in my project now.
  21. I don't work for Sun and I'm using C# in my project now.
    I do a bit of C# too (and VB for years). I usually use port of Java code (Lucene, NHibernate, etc.) or lament the lack of tools to do my job (from refactoring support to "organizing imports"). I go to Microsoft sites and the info there pales in comparison to what I can get from Sun and ... .
  22. Please, not again ....[ Go to top ]

    ... first that JBoss trademark thing, now the same with Java. What's the use of such discussions?

    Regards,
        Dirk
  23. Please, not again ....[ Go to top ]

    Looks like SUN has become as evil as JBoss Inc. already is, eh? ;-P

    ''If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.''
  24. They got me, too[ Go to top ]

    I've been using "JavaDragon" for years and years. I never got hassled, because I live in Canada. Then Sun was finally granted the Canadian trademark this summer, and BANG, a high priced lawyer from Toronto started hassling me within the week.

    I'm a consultant and a Java developer/architect. I have been a Java developer since 1997. But now... well, since Sun forced me into it... My new domain is called "DragonSharp".

    So there! :-p
  25. SUN is just weird. Sometimes they don't get it, or should i say sometimes they get it? I still prefer SUN over a lot of others though.
  26. I am glad somebody has brought this up so
    maybe people will finally realize the real face of SUN.
    SUN is a corporation and it is acting as such therefore no surprise here but
    lets stop saying that SUN is the good guy while Microsoft the evilish one.
    Sun just dreams to become like Microsoft. Thats all they are doing and they are doing that by telling you all the good stories about open source, free language, free tools ...the stories you like to hear....
    As far as the usage of the Java trademark mentioned by the posting I do not see any bad thing..they are doing free marketing for them.
    Should TSS be contacted too by a lawyer because of "Your enterprise Java community" along with other thousands of web sites ?
  27. Is Sun's use of the Java trademark fair?[ Go to top ]

    Should TSS be contacted too by a lawyer because of "Your enterprise Java community" along with other thousands of web sites ?

    This is not a trademark violation. The way I was told how trademark worked is that you can't use it in product names, company names, the logo, domain names. Using it as an adjective is fine I believe.
  28. Adjective ...[ Go to top ]

    Should TSS be contacted too by a lawyer because of "Your enterprise Java community" along with other thousands of web sites ?
    This is not a trademark violation. The way I was told how trademark worked is that you can't use it in product names, company names, the logo, domain names. Using it as an adjective is fine I believe.

    Wouldn't that be Javanese?

    cheers,
    dalibor topic
  29. If you don't make a concerted effort to defend your trademark, then you can be found to have surrendered it to the imminent domain. Ask Kleenex and Xerox. I can use Xeroxed all I want and not face any trademark issues. They lost it and can never get it back. Any company worth it's salt will defend it.

    For those that are effected by this, I sympathize. I understand that you have set up these domains innocently. But if you let innocent people walk on your lawn, you have a harder time getting any help removing the malicious people.

    John Murray
    Sobetech
  30. IANAL, but I think Ross got it right. Sun has to protect their Java trademark, and that involves hiring lawyers to send threatening letters to people who might be infringing.

    That said, my understanding of trademark law is that there's no problem as long as there's no confusion. If there's any chance at all that when you say "Java" people will assume the site is run by Sun, or if you're not talking about Sun's platform, then there's a problem. Otherwise, there isn't.

    Now, you have to realize, the people sending out these letters are lawyers, not technical people. For them, it's a lot easier and faster (not to be underestimated, their time is sooo much more valuable then the rest of ours) to send out a boilerplate letter, "ooga-booga, you're probably infringing, you better not make us spend any more time on you or else" to every site that has *jav* in the name than to try to figure out whether what you're doing is in fact infringing.

    I've heard some lawyer say, "We're not going to do your job for you". What he meant is, if there's any chance at all that you're in violation, a lawyer will threaten you, and then the burden to do the research and determine whether the threat is legitimate is on you, not on them.

    If I were a betting man, I'd bet they don't really care if you dump the site name or not. I guess the question is, are you a betting man, and how much do you have to lose? :)
  31. The Scorpion and the Tortoise[ Go to top ]

    The Scorpion and the Tortoise

    A Scorpion and a Tortoise became such fast friends that they took a vow that they would never separate. So when it happened that one of them was obliged to leave his native land, the other promised to go with him. They had traveled only a short distance when they came to a wide river. The Scorpion was now greatly troubled.

    "Alas," he said, "you, my friend, can easily swim, but how can a poor Scorpion like me ever get across this stream?"

    "Never fear," replied the Tortoise; "only place yourself squarely on my broad back and I will carry you safely over.

    No sooner was the Scorpion settled on the Tortoise's broad back, than the Tortoise crawled into the water and began to swim. Halfway across he was startled by a strange rapping on his back, which made him ask the Scorpion what he was doing.

    "Doing?" answered the Scorpion, I am whetting my sting to see if it is possible to pierce your hard shell."

    "Ungrateful friend," responded the Tortoise, ,it is well that I have it in my power both to save myself and to punish you as you deserve." And straightway he sank his back below the surface and shook off the Scorpion into the water.

    -------------

    Sun has no friends, nor should they based on the way that they treat them. The only reason Java has survived this long is thanks to the Open Source Community. Otherwise it would just be another Delphi or Forte. Sun is no friend of ours, no matter how many of their crappy tools they give away for free...

    -------------

    Dear Mr. Gosling, once upon a time you told me (to my face) that what separates Java from .NET is that "Java is an industry, not a product." What happened man?

    Disappointing.
  32. When sun's lawyer asked about to change the name, Questions to be verified to continue as-is, Does it need any licence agreements for as-is? As Sun is in open world, Does sun's licence costs big bucks ?? Question comes that As mentioned, Does JavaWorld, JavaBoutique and OnJava has taken licence? If so wats those terms? If not those licenced, then its a big ? mark!!
  33. I'm an attorney, and my guess is that Sun is simply trying to accomplish two things: first, to protect their trademark rights; and second, to support their recently-announced marketing/branding campaign (with Java, Sun wants to get away from acronyms and instead popularize the term 'Java').
    Sun's trademark policies seem very fair, IMHO.

    Some background info: trademarks rights must be maintained through actual use of the trademark. These rights will diminish over time if a mark is not actively used. In the case of a trademark registration, failure to actively use the mark, or to enforce the registration in the event of infringement, may also expose the registration itself to removal from the register after a certain period of time.

    All jurisdictions with a mature trademark registration system provide a mechanism for removal in the event of such non use, which is usually a period of either three or five years.

    In the U.S., failure to use a trademark for this period of time, aside from the corresponding impact on product quality, will result in abandonment of the mark, whereby any party may use the mark. An abandoned mark is not irrevocably in the public domain, but may instead be re-registered by any party which has re-established exclusive and active use, including the original mark owner. Further, if a court rules that a trademark has become "generic" through common use (such that the mark no longer performs the essential trademark function and the average consumer no longer considers that exclusive rights attach to it), the corresponding registration may also be ruled invalid.

    For example, the Bayer company's trademark "Aspirin" has been ruled generic in the United States, so other companies may use that name for acetylsalicylic acid as well (although it is still a trademark in Canada). Xerox for copiers and Band-Aid for adhesive bandages are both trademarks which are at risk of succumbing to genericide, which the respective trademark owners actively seek to prevent. In order to prevent marks becoming generic, trademark owners often contact those who appear to be using the trademark incorrectly, from web page authors to dictionary editors, and request that they cease the improper usage.

    Tim McIntyre
    ----
    Terracotta: the power of naturally clustered Java.
    www.terracottatech.com