[Foundation] Catching Up AND Foundation TM Again

Michael F Lin mflin at us.ibm.com
Wed May 23 13:57:00 CDT 2001


With Jabber becoming as big as I think it's going to become, there is
obviously a need to protect the Jabber name from getting too diluted. Thus,
I'm fully in support of a rigorous licensing scheme for the name. But I do
think that this should be handled by the nonprofit foundation rather than
by a for-profit company possibly subject to competitive pressures. An
extreme example, which you've probably heard me raise before, is the
scenario in which some unfriendly company does a hostile takeover of Webb,
which is publicly traded. This company now controls the Jabber trademark
and all licensing, and could then attempt to use it against j.o, the
Foundation, or whoever else Jabber.com, Inc. had licensed its trademark to.

I don't think this type of scenario will be as contrived as it now seems if
and when Jabber gets "big". ArsDigita and CDDB have already fallen prey to
it, and in both cases the developer community surrounding each has dried up
or at least been weakened.

Although I grant that it would seem to be in Jabber.com, Inc.'s short-term
interests to keep control of the trademark, I believe that in the long run
the most important thing is the Jabber technology. It is easy to say in a
theoretical sense that any restrictions on the use of the trademark on the
term "Jabber" would have no direct effect on the Jabber technology, but I
think that in practice this is clearly not the case. Even if the underlying
technology were to be renamed, as some have suggested, this would be a
serious blow to its progress since it would be casting away all the brand
identity Jabber has built up. If Jabber.com, Inc.  believes in the Jabber
technology, then, I believe it has a responsibility to protect it by
placing control of the Jabber trademark in the hands of a not-for-profit,
democratically organized foundation that will not allow competitive
pressure to weaken the technology.

Mike Lin
mflin at us.ibm.com

                    Michael Bauer                                                                                  
                    <bauer at jabber.       To:     "'Colin Madere '" <colin at vedalabs.com>, "''members at jabber.org' '" 
                    com>                  <members at jabber.org>                                                     
                    Sent by:             cc:                                                                       
                    members-admin@       Subject:     RE: [Foundation] Catching Up AND Foundation TM Again         
                    01:50 PM                                                                                       
                    Please respond                                                                                 
                    to members                                                                                     

Hi, Colin.  Yes, the "name" I refer to is "Jabber".  The term "Full
restrictions" imply that only Jabber.com has the right to license "Jabber"
for use in products and company names (it's own and others).   This would
regardless of who owns the trademark.  Again, this is what j.c. thought
it was considering trademark transfer.  Without this caveat, I don't think
j.c. will consider transfer right now.

Again, this is not to say that other commercial interests would not be
allowed to use the name in a product or company.  It's saying that j.c.
would do the licensing.  No matter what, we're trying to put a program
together that will allow the Foundation to help companies use the Jabber

-----Original Message-----
From: Colin Madere
To: 'members at jabber.org'
Sent: 5/23/01 11:12 AM
Subject: RE: [Foundation] Catching Up AND Foundation TM Again


I believe that your suggestion is what the community is looking for, and
I *think* your co-worker Mr. Bauer just suggested the same as a
possiblity.  Here's me attempting to distill once again...

Jer's suggestion:
>  - Jabber.com assigns the TM to the Jabber.org Foundation
>  - Jabber.org is then responsible for assigning all
> appropriate commercial
> uses that don't overlap and therefore implode the TM validity
>  - The immediate commercial use licenses would be to Jabber.com for:
>         "Jabber.com"
>         "Jabber Commercial Server"
>         "Jabber Instant Messenger"
>         (those are the ones I'm immediately aware of and have had
> considerable resources put into creating marketplace recognition of)
> Additional licenses might be assigned by Jabber.org for
> alternate uses by
> the companies that approach the Foundation, such as "JabberToons" or
> "Jabber Friends Network", etc. IANAL, but this seems very much in the
> spirit of TM law as much as I understand it, as long as the mark is
> managed appropriately (as we all seem agree it should, but by
> the member based foundation instead of a commercial entity).
> At this point I'm not sure what the other alternatives are.  I'm
> that any honest effort or "irrevocable use license" from jabber.com
> be enough to gain the support and trust of the entire community in
> role as TM holder, and the only other viable alternative so far would
> to change the name, which effectively nullifies jabber.coms utility of
> TM anyway.

Bauer's suggestions:
(hopefully not misunderstood due to lack of context)

"At any rate, I think that's where Jabber.com stands right now.  Even if

there is a transfer of ownership the full restrictions would have to
to naming product or company names."

"Now, other companies could be licensed to use
the name in a company or product name but Jabber.com would reserve that
privilege as well even if there was a transfer.  That's what we
discussed in the ownership transfer and what is still being considered."

Mr. Bauer, in the paragraphs above, could you define "full restrictions"
and "the name" respectively?  I can guess "the name" means "Jabber", but
I'd rather you be explicit :)  It seems these two quotes from you
_could_ be conflicting and I want to clear it up.

I think what I see as the main possible difference is that Jer is
suggesting that j.c get's licenses (or whatever they may be called) for
the current names of their products and domain(s) that use the word
"Jabber", whereas Bauer *may* be suggesting that j.c get's a full
license for any use of the word "Jabber".  Feedback from you two?

Colin Madere

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