MozillaZine

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.


#54 No, you just misunderstood it

by adipose

Saturday May 3rd, 2003 4:39 AM

You are replying to this message

As I said, unless companies try to protect their copyrights, they are meaningless. None of the other groups challenged Firebird SQL's right to the name. Hence, they got it, and have been promoting the name ever since. Now that someone is trying to take it, they are fighting. That establishes their right to the name!

> They were "here" first? Really? Look at the links above and show will see they were "there" first.

Meaning before Moz. took the name. Firebird SQL has been around for several years with no (that I know of, anyway) lawsuits or challengs to their use of the name. That means they get it, especially if they challenge newcomers who try to use it.

> Well, humm, lets see: Wordstar wordprocessor, WordPerfect processor, > Word (by Microsoft) and my favorite comparison, Word Pro (by Lotus). > How many people you think believe Word Pro was the professional > version of Word? They all use the word "word" and they all operate in the same field.

Are you deliberately being dense? None of these products was named the same as the other. They all contained the word "word," yes, but that isn't the same. I said you don't typically name a product with a name that has been taken. E.g., I can't start a word processor and call it "Word" (or "Excel" for that matter). No way would MS let me get away with that (unless I was too small for them to notice).

However, there have been products which have been named identically. I never said it didn't happen, I just said it wasn't typical. Remember: in general, you must fight to maintain your right to a trademark. Otherwise the trademark is considered meaningless since you allowed others to use it. And it is not unheard of to trademark something even after prior use. This doesn't mean I agree with trademark law and practices, but this is the way it is.

-Dan