[Foundation] Jabber (tm)

Jeremie jeremie at jabber.org
Thu May 17 15:09:01 CDT 2001

/me chimes in :)

On Wed, 16 May 2001, Mathew Johnston wrote:
> First, some history. A company that did some sort of voice software
> had a trademark on the word Jabber (or something involving that word).
> They threatened Jer with a cease and desist when he started using the
> word Jabber to describe his new XML based protocol that would be used
> for IM and more. Jer had already used the name a fair bit and the
> Jabber protocol that he had started became more popular. He didn't
> have money to fight in court with or buy the trademark from the other
> company. Jabber.com, however, did. So, they bought the trademark.

Just to clarify things a bit, the original company was Oquirrh
Technologies Inc. from NY.  They had the domain jabber.com and a trademark
on jabber for "computer software for reducing the number of bits required
to transmit speech" and some java classes that did such voice compression.
I never received a cease and desist, and IANAL, but I'm not sure how
applicable it would have been given the specific usage of the trademark by
Oquirrh.  Essentially, Jabber.com came into existence by purchasing the
domain and trademark from Oquirrh, and has since then filed their own
trademark on jabber for "Software for real-time communications over a
global computer network."

On Thu, 17 May 2001, Thomas Charron wrote:
>     Jabber.com may not be ABLE to do this.  Rememeber, trademarks have
> monatary value.  They are a publically held company.  Start giving stuff
> away, and you quickly find yourself in the midst of lawsuites by
> shareholders.  'Specially when dealing with smaller companies who are in
> tough spots right now..

Another clarification, Jabber.com is not a publicly held company, they
are private, but largely owned by a public company (WEBB).

My thought yesterday was, would it be acceptable for Jabber.com to assign
the trademark to the foundation, and in turn the foundation would license
the commercial use of the name "jabber" as used by Jabber.com in it's
domain and product names?  The reasoning behind this is that Jabber.com
has said that they have not and do not plan on using the trademark as a
direct source of income, so the discussion around the immediate financial
value of the trademark to jabber.com doesn't make as much sense.  
Instead, they want to ensure the brand and quality, and be able to
distinguish their products uniquely in the marketplace as representing
that brand and quality.  They were the first entity to seriously pursue
offering commercial services around Jabber and have definitely benefited
the community by creating those offerings for other businesses. In
addition they have been honest in their support of the community and being
an open participant and not trying to direct or control it.

So, as far as I currently understand the situation, with a transfer and
commercial use license exchange, Jabber.com can see their vision of proper
brand and quality management happen through the foundation, as well as
retain the commercial value that they have worked hard for and deserve by
using Jabber in their product names.  This is the highest level of
protection for the community as well, and will allow the name "jabber" to
co-exist peacefully in the various usages as a protocol, open source
software, and product names.

I guess the next step is to see if it's something that Jabber.com would
find acceptible or if there were additional facets to the problem not
taken into account.  There's quite a bit of work to be done on many
fronts, so I hope we can work through this quickly and get back to the
problems of growing the community and making things work better :)


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