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O'Reilly and CMP Exercise Trademark on 'Web 2.0' 229

Posted by Zonk
from the can't-have-confusion-2.0 dept.
theodp writes "On May 16, the USPTO notified CMP Media, which co-presents the Web 2.0 Conference with O'Reilly, that its trademark for Web 2.0 was entitled to be registered. Eight days later, CMP sicced its lawyers on not-for-profit IT@Cork, taking the networking organization to task for not only using the term Web 2.0 for its free conference, but also for linking to a What is Web 2.0 article penned by Tim O'Reilly." It should be noted that their trademark only applies to the titles of industry events (CMP is a show organizer).
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O'Reilly and CMP Exercise Trademark on 'Web 2.0'

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  • Dibs (Score:5, Funny)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:04AM (#15409821) Journal
    In an effort to curb the misuse of my technological terms by the industry, I am now trademarking Web 3.0, Web 4.0, Web 5.0, Web 6.0, Web 7.0, Web 8.0, Web 9.0, Web 1337.0, Web 69.0 and Web Pi.

    Web 3.0-9.0 refer to the idea of websites being more and more progressively interactive with the user. The final, Web 9.0, requiring electrodes implanted in your brain so you actually walk between websites and are subject to the sounds & smells of the internet. It is not advised to use 9.0 if you don't have adequate protection against script kiddies.

    Web 1337.0 refers to the idea that websites should be covered in flying toasters and dancing Jesuses and massive abuse of blinking marquee tags.

    I'd describe the other Web x.0s but then Slashdot would be linked to those descriptions and I would be obligated to sue the OSTG.

    This is an unfortunate but necessary move on my part to protect the idea of these terms. On what grounds do I register these trademarks? I have meme maps! And I'm not afraid to publish them!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:06AM (#15409839)
    I am now creating Web 2.1 and releasing it under a full open creative commons license. Use it however you want.

    Web 2.0 is now deprecated.
    • This was funny, but its actually not a bad idea. Get the slashdot/techie crowd to start promoting this mythical "Web 2.1" thing.. and suddenly steal the thunder of a copyrighted Web 2.0 (whatever the hell it is).
      So you could actually 'deprecate' the Web 2.0 buzz word once and for all, anybody talking about Web 2.0 is just not using the latest and greatest.

      Now we just need to kill off this AJAX acronym.
    • "I am now creating Web 2.1 and releasing it under a full open creative commons license. Use it however you want."

      When is Web 2.2 coming out? I have heard 2.1 isn't stable.
    • Call it WV2 (if that isn't already in use) and be done with it...
  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:06AM (#15409843) Homepage Journal
    I recommend we commence immediately on Web 3.0, which is exactly like Web 2.0, only spelt differently.
    • by sharkey (16670)
      You see, it's SPELLED "Web 2.0", but it's PRONOUNCED "Throat-Wobbler Mangrove".
    • Re:Well then... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) <dylan.dylanbrams@com> on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:35AM (#15410038) Homepage Journal
      Nah. We just need to go to 2.1, and open source the trademark on that. It's certainly a bigger upgrade than most releases.

      Is anyone else more than mildly disappointed that they own a bookshelf full of O'reilly books after reading this?
      • "Is anyone else more than mildly disappointed that they own a bookshelf full of O'reilly books after reading this?"

        I was a little at first but then realized that their legal department needs to eat too. These things can be expected as we move from the Information Age to the Litigious Age - so no book burning just yet.
      • No, I'm pretty happy that I have O'Reilly books, they're great. I'm just sorry that O'Reilly's management is a bunch of bastards. I've always purchased the ORA book reflexively, trusting that it will be at least decent, but after crap like this, I'm hesitant. O'Reilly has tended to do positive things for the computing community, but I have little tolerance for people who exploit so-called "IP" (and no, not what comes after TCP/) and would prefer not to support such a decision. Only question is, are there an
      • Is anyone else more than mildly disappointed that they own a bookshelf full of O'reilly books after reading this?

        Actually I'd say that's putting it mildly compared with how I feel.
      • "Web 2.0" is basically a bunch of old technologies repackaged, so I say let O'Rielly have their lame name.
  • Oh yea? (Score:5, Funny)

    by rev_sanchez (691443) on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:07AM (#15409851)
    My conference is going to be Web 2.1 Service Pack 1 Release Candidate 3 Build 5781 and all of those guys are going to feel quite the fool.
  • by timeOday (582209) on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:08AM (#15409854)
    I'll believe that when I see it. I know the law says trademarks are compartmentalized, but go start a landscaping business named "Microsoft" and tell me how it goes.
  • Stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:09AM (#15409863) Journal
    What is the point of coining a meaningless buzzword to describe a perfectly normal evolution of technology, if you're then going to sue everyone who uses it? It's not like Web 2.0 has any hard assets or IP.

    That's like Google suing everyone who uses the verbed form of their name.
    • That's like Google suing everyone who uses the verbed form of their name.

      Like Adobe does [adobe.com] when someone displays a photoshop that they photoshopped with Paint Shop Pro.

      • Re:Stupid. (Score:3, Informative)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) *
        In newspaper work, journalists are commonly forbidden from using nouns that originated as product names...For example, you can't use "Kleenex" or "Frisbee" or "Rollerblades" because of litigous companies that are jealous of their trademarks.

        I suppose it's because it's pretty easy to lose a trademark, so you have to be careful, or people could be making "Bob's Frisbee's" and "Joe's Rollerblades" instead of being forced to use the less sexy descriptors.
        • I suppose it's because it's pretty easy to lose a trademark, so you have to be careful, or people could be making "Bob's Frisbee's" and "Joe's Rollerblades" instead of being forced to use the less sexy descriptors.


          Its exactly for this reason -- an example is found in Aspirin losing its protected status in the US.

          • Sure, I just don't think they have much of a prouduct, so to be wasting so much effort defending a titular trademark...Doesn't make sense to me.
        • Sidenote: This is why Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol. At the time, he was in a tiff with Sony/Warner Bros. So he changed his name AND owned the trademark/copyright on the Prince symbol. Once he did that, he could deny Sony the use of that symbol (and anyone else he didn't agree with). He owned the "font" for the symbol, you might say. And he owned all typeblocks of the symbol. In other words, if you wanted to print that symbol -- at all -- then you had to get Prince's permissio
    • Excellent point. What a beautiful way to kill an emerging technology that nobody has clearly explained with a definitive answer.
      • Re:Stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:31AM (#15410014) Journal
        Well, the sad thing is, they don't own any of the technology. It's not even a technology as such, as much as it is a design philosophy-shift based on percieved public demand and commonly available tools. There is no reason we couldn't have done Ajax 5 years ago, it's just that Javascript is more mature, and more reliably supported in browsers, and the real strengths of XML are better understood now than they were then.

        Seems like all they want is the ability to host exclusive conferences on their trademarked topic, which is fine sort of, but I'm irked enough by companies abusing IP law that I'm not even going to think about paying to go to a conference where the topic is as vague as "Web 2.0" and the guys who run it are suing people who try to use "Web 2.0". Screw that. I'll go across the street to the Ajax confrence. At least people agree what that means even if it's overused.
        • > the real strengths of XML are better understood now than they were then

          http://xmlsucks.com/ [xmlsucks.com]
        • Re:Stupid. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by GeckoX (259575) on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:04PM (#15410245)
          Trademarks, my god, I so don't want to go here because it's just common sense, but not even a little bit of it is applied.

          Web 2.0. EVERYONE know's what that means, it's just completely generic.

          It's version 2 of the Web.

          What is the Web? Not something you can trademark that's for sure.

          But ok, it's not really about that, it's about trademarking the name of a convention or trade show.

          So what? Why is that any different?

          I can't trademark Hamburger, and I shouldn't be able to for ANY reason. It's a freaking WORD with MEANING, not a name.

          Sorry, I just really hate what lawyers have done to our society, this is pathetic.
        • There is no reason we couldn't have done Ajax 5 years ago

          We did, it was called remote scripting. [eggheadcafe.com]
    • by eln (21727)
      Google probably should be suing people who use the verb form of their names in a business context, or at least providing usage guidelines for the word, or they might risk losing their trademark on it. Many former trademarks have been lost because companies did not defend them and they became a generic term for something (aspirin, cellophane, escalator).

      Companies need to take some kind of action to protect their trademarks. Many of them provide "usage guides" for their trademarks. Zamboni, for example, sa
      • On the other hand, all this talk of "googling" facts and "photoshopping" images is a lot of free word-of-mouth publicity. It may have risks, but it's not without immediate payoff, either.
  • And now I am trademarking "Web Infinity" and "Web Infinity + 1"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:15AM (#15409900)
    What a fitting metaphor.

  • by BarryLoper (928015) on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:16AM (#15409904)

    Well, you wouldn't expect to be able to hold a local gathering of electronics vendors and call it the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

    It's not like they can go after you for making an application and saying it's a "Web 2.0 app". In fact, they'd like that because it would validate their existence.

  • Wonderful (Score:3, Funny)

    by Gruuk (18480) on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:18AM (#15409914)
    If we can't use "Web 2.0", what alternatives can we use?

    Maybe "New Web II: Electric Boogaloo" would do the trick.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:27AM (#15409975)
    It doesn't really matter if it's 'Web 2.0' or 'AJAX' or whatever buzzword is hot at the moment, it's in poor stead that O'Reilly and CMP have acted in this manner against a small not-for-profit. It seems that this show would only stand to benefit THEM as it's focused on the very same things they're purporting to 'protect', so why would they take action against it?

    I would be less inclined to call foul if they were filing suit against someone using their trademark to profit unjustly, but unfortunately it's not. This will only harm O'Reilly's reputation.

    Tim, get on the case! Do something about this complete and utter ridiculousness.
    • Think of this another way, if I started a non profit and started having a COMDEX trade show, or a USENIX show, I probably should be sued.

      In this case the two shows may or may-not have been independantly created, but CMP still is required by trademark law to take action against others using their trademark (is the same field), or they lose the right to that mark. And a cease and desist doesn't really hurt anyone, except for whatever promotional materials etc. have to be redone.
  • Cool (Score:5, Funny)

    by drew (2081) on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:27AM (#15409987) Homepage
    While normally I'm not a big fan of trademark silliness, in this case I wholeheartedly approve. Maybe now the stupid meme will finally die.

    Now, if only we could get somebody to trademark the term "AJAX".
    • Yes! Finally a good use for trademarking/copyrighting/patenting. Now maybe people can call it "client-side DOM scripting" AKA "browser abuse".
    • Web 2.0 is an ineffably stupid buzzword. Anyone who uses it should shift their paradigm immediately.
  • Ireland != US (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jmcc (15894)
    O'Reilly and CMP threatened an Irish company over the use of Web 2.0 based on a US application for a service mark it seems. Well unless O'Reilly and CMP have an Irish or EU trademark or service mark, they have no rights to the term in Europe. Perhaps someone should explain that harsh reality to them. In threatening IT@Cork, O'Reilly and CMP have shown themselves to be no better than Jeff Bezos with his One Click patent etc. It is sad to see such a great reputation destroyed by the careless actions of lawyer
  • I'd like to encourage everyone to trademark other overused buzzwords and start suing people. Soon, we just might be living in a completely buzzword-free world!
  • by philipsblows (180703) on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:44AM (#15410104) Homepage
    Controversy about our "Web 2.0" service mark [oreilly.com]
    In retrospect, we wish we'd contacted the IT@Cork folks personally and talked over the issue before sending legal correspondence. In fact, it turns out that they asked Tim to speak at the conference, though our Web 2.0 Conference team didn't know that. We've sent a followup letter to Donagh Kiernan, agreeing that IT@Cork can use the Web 2.0 name this year. While we stand by the principle that we need to protect our "Web 2.0" mark from unauthorized use in the context of conferences, we apologize for the way we initially handled the issue with IT@Cork.

    That's just an excerpt, follow the link for the whole [brief] comment. They also point out, rightfully so, that they would not be able to have a "LinuxWorld conference," and this is no different. It's a service mark, they have to defend it, end of story.

    • Beat me to it.

      Aparently Tim is "Off the Grid", and unable to respond. What's the big deal anyway? OReilly and CMP are businesses trying to make money and have a good time while doing so, just like the rest of us.
    • Flawed analogy (Score:2, Insightful)

      by smurfsurf (892933)
      The LinuxWorld example is flawed. Of cause they cannot name their conference LinuxWorld. Preventing anyone from using "Linux" in the name of their conference about Linux, now that is the right analogy to what O'Reilly is doing.
  • TFA shows a letter from CMP, which mentions CMP's involvement with O'Reilly, but does not seem to be claiming to act on O'Reilly's behalf. "CMP hereby demands..." "CMP further demands..." but I see no demand from O'Reilly. This seems to be CMP acting to claim trademark on the term "Web 2.0" as it applies to their conferences, not a larger claim by O'Reilly and CMP for ownership of the term in all contexts.

  • From the USPTO tarr system:
    Current Status: The final review before registration has been completed for this Intent to Use application and it will register in due course.

    Date of Status: 2006-05-10

    Filing Date: 2003-11-03

    GOODS AND/OR SERVICES
    International Class: 035
    Class Status: Active
    Arranging and conducting live events, namely, trade shows, expositions and business conferences in various fields, namely, computers, communications, and information technology
    Basis: 1(a)
    First Use Date: 2004-10-05

  • by PinglePongle (8734) on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:00PM (#15410219) Homepage
    http://www.oreilly.com/cgi-bin/amazon_patent.comme nts.pl [oreilly.com]

    - Very, very insightful -
    ....was granted without adequate review of prior art, and further, that even were it ultimately found valid, such broad patents serve only to hold back further innovation.


    It is plainly wrong for companies to take our IP protection on overly broad terms, which are already in the public domain - but to then seek to enforce them is clearly even worse.

    The writer of the Open Letter to Jeff Bezos knew what he was talking about.
  • Is there a method for filing objections with the USPTO? Maybe if
    a group filed the objection, we could get the service mark overturned.
    • by saddino (183491)
      Yes, there is a way to protest (hence the publication of pending registrations), but on what merits? There is no established service mark (either registered or common law) for use of "Web 2.0" for conferences. So CMP looks in the clear for claiming a right on that service mark.
  • Just use "Web 3.0" everywhere you'd use "Web 2.0". Argue that, "it is the natural evolution of the web after the Web 2.0 label ran into legal difficulties." In doing so, you're actually helping kill of the stupid buzzword because it starts to lose meaning.
  • by widget54 (888141) on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:28PM (#15410434)
    "Litigation in a nutshell"
  • That's one way... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:55PM (#15410670)
    ...to cut down on the use of an overused, increasingly meaningless, buzzword.
  • by Thomas Hawk (796343) on Friday May 26, 2006 @01:38PM (#15410959)
    Get your own "Tim O'Reilly, Original Web 2.0 Asshole" graphic here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/153656919/ [flickr.com] It's Creative Commons licensed and all, feel free to use it all you like!
  • We will just not use the fucking 'web 2.0' string in any of our conversations and text thats all. God forbid if i am going to pay any moron royalty for using 7 char length string in my text. Tell them to shove web 2.0, 2.0 times up their arses.
  • by geekotourist (80163) on Friday May 26, 2006 @02:14PM (#15411190) Journal
    Think White Wolf has dibs here: can't see much difference... Digital Web 2.0" [amazon.com]
    • Bunch of geeks talking about how the magic is back? Check
    • Big crash not too long ago in the backhistory? Check
    • Now the rules have changed? Check
    • The right combination of arcane tools will bring about fame and fortune? Check
    • Book from 1998, btw.

      While web 3.0 and web (pi)- the transcendental web- work, there are other possibilities:
      • Web Version 2.0 (if Hitachi [hitachi-support.com] doesn't mind)
      • WWW 2.0
      • Web II, or Web II Punctum Nihil, or continuing on the Latin theme 'EbWay 2.0'
      • Entanglement 2.0 (and other fun from a thesaurus [reference.com])

      At any rate, their "the web is buzzing" dismissal-phrase isn't helping. Bees buzz. People have a glut of ebWay 2.0 conferences to choose from (not to mention the 1/1000 priced ad-hoc conferences that Web TwoPtOught tech makes po

  • changelog (Score:2, Funny)

    by hakr89 (719001)
    Web 2 Changelog

    Version 2.0.1
    2006-05-26
    * Bumped version number to make trademark a moot point.

    Version 2.0
    2006-05-25
    * Trademark Registered by O'Reilly.

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