Firebird Database Project Issues New Statement on Naming Debate
Thursday May 1st, 2003
On Tuesday, the Firebird database project's main front page was updated with another statement from the Firebird Admins about the naming controversy. The announcement suggests that the database project's leaders may be satisified if mozilla.org and related sites follow the policy of the Mozilla branding guidelines to the letter and only ever refer to the former Phoenix browser as 'Mozilla Firebird'. According to the update, the Firebird Admins, the FirebirdSQL Foundation committee and the IBPhoenix principals (the IBPhoenix site appears to be down right now) sent a formal letter to mozilla.org on Friday and are awaiting a response.
The statement also links to an assessment of the Firebird database community's legal position, published by the FirebirdSQL Foundation. We were not able to verify the accuracy of this legal advice, which was researched by Pavel Cisar, one of the database project's administrators, and two unnamed legal consultants. Interestingly, the document reveals for the first time that the FirebirdSQL Foundation is considering suing mozilla.org. In the past, the group has claimed that they are not interested in taking legal action and could not afford to anyway. The Foundation has also published another summary of how they believe mozilla.org's use of the Firebird name harms the database project.
#20 Doesn't matter
Thursday May 1st, 2003 8:58 PM
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You don't have to do but a tiny little bit of reading about trademark law to find out that in this case, that distinction is meaningless.
Where that type of distinction becomes important in when you're trying to trademark a generic term which has been deemed too generic for trademark protection. So perhaps "Firebird" couldn't be trademarked, but "Firebird BBS" could be considered specific and unique enough that it could.
Of course, you see the problem: their argument only holds water if they claim their mark is "Firebird Database," not just "Firebird." Even then, it would be weak, as they'd have combined a generic term with a type of software's common name. It's actually somewhat unusual for trademark protection to be granted to such combinations.
Basically, they're blathering on cluelessly as they have been from the beginning, completely ignoring the fact that if their judgement is this poor in a situation so unbelievably trivial, there's no way in hell I'd trust my data to any software they produced.
Ironic that, because I did almost use that database in a project a while back (not too long after it was open sourced). You can bet your ass that'll be the last time I or anybody I know gives it any consideration.