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

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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  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ireland != US (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jmcc ( 15894 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:32AM (#15410020) Homepage
    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 lawyers.
  • by iamlucky13 ( 795185 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:39AM (#15410070)
    This isn't quite a breakdown of compartmentalization, but MikeRoweSoft [theregister.co.uk] already had a somewhat similar run-in with Microsoft regarding trademarks.

    I kinda hope they're granted the trademark. Then I won't have to listen to people babbling on about web 2.0 anymore.
  • 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.

  • by Thabenksta ( 125165 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:49AM (#15410138) Homepage
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 26, 2006 @11:55AM (#15410172)
    Aren't they nice? The let them use Web 2.0 this year, and when they want to hold another conference by the then established name next year, then what? They can't? They need to pay a license fee? For what? A term which is in ubiquitous use. Can't use it for conferences about the thing that the term describes though. Yeah, they shouldn't have sent the landsharks first, but that's not all of it. They shouldn't have registered a common name as a trademark. And now they have the nerve to pretend that they have some decency left in their landgrabbing existence by making an exception this year. Those fuckers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:15PM (#15410327)
    They also point out, rightfully so, that they would not be able to have a "LinuxWorld conference," and this is no different.

    This is a meaningless statement. LinuxWorld isn't a common word and a common versioning scheme. It also isn't an industry buzzword.

    It's a service mark, they have to defend it, end of story.

    No, that's not the end of the story. The story just becomes "Why is it a service mark in the first place?"
  • Flawed analogy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by smurfsurf ( 892933 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:19PM (#15410362)
    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.
  • by saddino ( 183491 ) on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:42PM (#15410555)
    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.
  • 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.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant