ora owns web2.0 - and will sue your ass if you try to use it

Simon Cozens simon at simon-cozens.org
Sun May 28 00:52:55 BST 2006

danny staple:
> I read it Jesse, and as much as I enjoy reading O' Reilly stuff, I am
> pretty amazed they were even *allowed* to trade mark Web 2.0

They aren't, and they haven't. The Register story is, like all Register
stories, around 20% true and 80% an expression of bias and vitriol rather than
actual journalism. (That said, nothing wrong with a bit of bias and vitriol
from time to time.) 

The first thing that most people who talk about trademarks don't know about
trademarks is that you don't trademark a term, like "Web 2.0"; you trademark a
term in a particular context. Like the camel, which is their trademark in the
context of advertising the Perl programming language. So they do not have a
trademark on "Web 2.0", no matter what the blogosphere echo chamber (who I
believe are not, on the whole, well versed in trademark law) will have you
believe. They have a trademark on "Web 2.0" in the context of organising

That means that if I organise "The Web 2.0 Conference", ORA have every right
to get a little concerned that I might be creating (and profiting from)
confusion with *their* "The Web 2.0 Conference", just as I do not think we
want people creating an entirely different programming language and giving it
the name "Perl", even though Larry and Damian have been trying to do this over
the past five years.

The second thing that most people who talk about trademarks don't know about
trademarks is that if you do not actively defend a trademark, then you lose
it. So they can't just let someone get away with calling their conference "The
Web 2.0 Conference"; they have to act. In fact, their lawyers, if they are
good lawyers and do their jobs properly, will have been proactive acted for
them. Which is almost certainly what happened in this case.

So this is no more ridiculous than what we already have with O'Reilly
protecting the Perl camel, but because it involves Web 2.0 people (who are,
shall we say, easily led) *and* the chance to bite the hand that feeds, it is
almost impossible to stop the simian cavalcade. I'm not sure, to be honest,
why I'm even bothering to try.

When an archer misses the mark, he turns and looks for the fault within
himself. Failure to hit the bull's eye is never the fault of the target. 
To improve your aim, improve yourself.
    -- Gilbert Arland

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