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Networking (Apple) Businesses Apple Hardware

Apple Sued Over Rendezvous Trademark 97

bdsesq writes "The Register is reporting that Tibco is suing Apple over the name 'Rendezvous'. Tibco has owned the name since 1994. It seems that Apple doesn't want to pay what Tibco wants."
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Apple Sued Over Rendezvous Trademark

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  • Rendezvous? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alex Thorpe ( 575736 ) <alphax.mac@com> on Thursday August 28, 2003 @05:37PM (#6818651) Homepage
    So can a company trademark single words in a foreign language? What do the French think of this? I'd think it'd be like trademarking a word such as "travel".

    • Re:Rendezvous? (Score:4, Informative)

      by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Thursday August 28, 2003 @05:40PM (#6818682) Homepage Journal
      depends on what their rendezvous was.

      it's not like you can start making apple computers and except apple to stay out of your biz.

      • A more fitting analogy would be for a company called Computer Kitchens to make an Apple shaped multifunction kitchen timer/calculator and call it the "Apple" Something tells me that would fly.
    • by speechpoet ( 562513 ) on Thursday August 28, 2003 @07:38PM (#6819707) Homepage Journal
      I suspect the French hold anyone in disdain who doesn't reserve the word "rendezvous" for one of the following meanings:
      • moonlit trysts on a Paris rooftop between a bitter nihilist revolutionary fugitive and his naive yet somehow worldly girlfriend, leading to their violent deaths in a bloody shootout with the gendarmes as their bullet-riddled bodies plunge into the Seine.
      • musketeers, fleeing Richelieu's spies, furtively exchanging the princess's ransom with a man they believe to be a lowly messenger but who reveals himself to be - mon dieu! est-ce que c'est possible? - the true king himself!
      • the moment when the melted chocolate merges with the whipped cream, freeing the aroma of the cognac and reminding the palate ever so delicately of the bitterness of the foie gras that began the meal, only 14 hours auparavant.
    • Re:Rendezvous? (Score:4, Informative)

      by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Thursday August 28, 2003 @09:12PM (#6820338)
      You really don't understand how trademarks work do you? You can trademark anything as it pertains to a particular specific business. Apple has a trademark and I think Apple is a pretty common word. So are Ford, Dodge, Gulf, Sears, Target, etc. Trademarks exist to help protect both the consumer and the company from confusion. The company doesn't have to worry about its rebutation being soiled by somebody selling a inferior product under their name and a consumer can be secure in knowing that if it has the name of the company then it belongs to that company.
      • Re:Rendezvous? (Score:3, Informative)

        Trademarks exist to help protect both the consumer and the company from confusion.

        Exactly, but that's why you can open a Macintosh Restaurant or sell Apple Jeans. When you operate in a completely different business, there can be no confusion and hence no trademark infringement. Now, it's up to the jury to decide whether "business messaging" and "zero-configuration networking" are completely different - or not. Methinks they are.
        • I fear, however, that the court could see them both as "computer things." I could forsee the following sitution.

          Customer : "Howdy, I need a new laptop, and my company's IT guy said it needed rendezvous. Does this one have rendezvous?"

          Naive/Evil sales guy : "Uh, yeah. You should probably buy that."
    • by werdna ( 39029 ) on Thursday August 28, 2003 @09:26PM (#6820423) Journal
      You know, like Apple, owned by Apple Computers, for computers. Like Apple, owned by Apple Records, for records.

      But NOT Apple, for pie!

      Like Be, for operating systems. But probably NOT for philosophical services.

      So long as the mark is used in a distinctive, non-descriptive fashion, the mark can become proprietary on the day it is first used in commerce.
      • Actually, I recall that earlier this year there was a little flap with Apple Records over the iTunes Store.

        http://www.macnn.com/news/19643&startNumber=33

        Seems that in 1981 Apple (Computer) had promised Apple (Records) that they wouldn't go into the music business so that they wouldn't drag the young Apple (Computer) to court.
    • Re:Rendezvous? (Score:3, Informative)

      by MacGod ( 320762 )
      So can a company trademark single words in a foreign language? What do the French think of this? I'd think it'd be like trademarking a word such as "travel".

      The commonality of the word is not the issue. If you're unsure, try creating a piece of software and call it "Windows".

      The issue is whether the two similarily-named products can be confused with one another; for my money (IANAL), the answer is no. This reminds me a lot of the whole Microware OS-9 lawsuit [cnn.com] from three years ago. I hardly think Apple ha

    • Re:Rendezvous? (Score:3, Informative)

      by chrispy666 ( 519278 )
      Actually, in French, "rendezvous" doesn't mean anything.
      The correct way to write it is "rendez-vous".
      I'm pretty sure Apple did that on purpose.
      • The correct way to write it is "rendez-vous".

        It never fails, someone is always trying to correct my French...

        Can't you see I am trying at least?

        French people can be so arrogant sometimes ;o)




        Before I get clubbed for saying something rude about French people, hint: It's a joke!

    • Well, Rendezvous isn't exactly a single word in French. Maybe that helps. ;)
    • of course, in a foreign language and in english also. Accorn, Apple, Atari, ... to speak only about computer companies begining with the letter A and of which I can think at the moment.
    • It would be fun that, as a result, we could no more use the French word assuming that the EU decides it.
  • by Badge 17 ( 613974 ) on Thursday August 28, 2003 @05:53PM (#6818830)
    The "Rendezvous" software of Tibco is messaging software. Apple's is networking configuration. There doesn't seem to be any real attempt of Apple to capitalize on Tibco's reputation (because, naturally, Apple is some upstart company trying to leech off of the mighty Tibco...).

    After all, wasn't this case sort of settled with the battle of Apple Records versus Apple Computer - there's not likely to be confusion in the products, and the Apple Records name had a hell of a lot more influence than Tibco does now.

    A couple more news stories on this, more reputable but not much more information:
    http://www.smartmoney.com/bn/ON/index.cfm?story=ON -20030828-000863-0816 [smartmoney.com]
    http://www.pcpro.co.uk/?http://www.pcpro.co.uk/new s/news_story.php?id=46737 [pcpro.co.uk]
    • The "Rendezvous" software of Tibco is messaging software. Apple's is networking configuration.

      Rendezvous is mainly a networking/peripheral configuration system, but it does possess messaging components via iChat [apple.com], so it's possible a judge could see significant overlap between the two products.
      • Also, both Rendezvous's use UDP multicast on the network. In fact, you can write Rendezvous (Tibco) apps and run them on disparate platforms on the same network with 'Zero Configuration'. There is enough gray area that this will go to court unless Apple settles.

        I have a feeling that
        a) the Judge will be telling Apple to pay a lot of money
        b) Apple will pony up some cash.
      • by Frightened_Turtle ( 592418 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @09:26AM (#6823390) Homepage
        "...but it does possess messaging components via iChat..."

        Actually, this is a little inaccurate. Rendezvous does not have messaging components. Nor does Rendezvous use iChat for messaging.

        Rather, it is iChat that uses Rendezvous services to discover who is on the network, and then lists those people accordingly. In a very basic summation, all Rendezvous does is check out a network and see what is available for networking, and then makes that information available for other programs to use.

        If Rendezvous does have user-to-user messaging capabilities built into it, then I would agree that Tibco has a case. Nonetheless, even if Tibco didn't want to, they would still be required to sue Apple based on current copyright/trademark laws. They must defend their trademark and demonstrate efforts of having done so. Not doing so invalidates their trademark and makes it available for everyone to use. (This is why you see McDonald's suing some small restaurant now and then over the "McDonald's name. They aren't trying to be mean, they have to do this or they lose their trademark.) Let's face it, if you're going to sue, you might as well ask for money. At the very least, it covers your legal fees if you win.

        It will probably go to court, unless Tibco is doing this to get free money. Should it go to court, the finding will most likely be that Tibco's product is a messaging system like iChat, and not a network discovery service like Apple's product, and therefore there is no market overlap between the two products. Thereby, there is no trademark infringement.

        At the very least, this is free press for Tibco -- this is the first time I ever heard of them.
        • "Should it go to court, the finding will most likely be that Tibco's product is a messaging system like iChat, and not a network discovery service like Apple's product."

          But since this is a trademark, the point isn't the underlying technology, but brand confusion for consumers. If I go into iChat, I see a window labelled 'Rendezvous' that lets me talk to other users on my network. And now you tell me that Tibco's product, Rendezvous, is a messaging system that lets users on the network talk to each other? T
          • Hm- Very good point. I must admit I didn't consider it from that particular angle. It certainly pokes a hole in my arguement. :)

            Either way, in the end it will be decided in the courts. It will be interesting to see what the outcome is.
    • by McAddress ( 673660 ) on Thursday August 28, 2003 @07:49PM (#6819781)
      Just rename it iRendezvous.
    • It's not about trying to capitalize on the other guy, it's about muddying a brand someone else has put a lot of work in already.

      Now I can see Apple winning this case with their fingers in their noses, but just imagine suddenly having to explain that no, your product is not that thingy from Apple. Not a nice situation.

      I fail to see how the technicalities (messaging versus networking) come into play. If it confuses Tibco's clients and prospects, they should be able to make at least half a case.

      BTW I don't
    • Of course this argument didn't work when Apple (successfully) sued a pre-paid telephone card provider in Australia that called itself "Apple". There is much less similarity between pre-paid long distance and computer hardware/software than between Tibco's Rendezvous (multicast based messaging) and Apple's Rendezvous (multicast based messaging).

      I am an Apple fan, and I doubt that anyone would confuse Apple's Rendezvous with enterprise integration software that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it
    • I'm a die-hard Jobsian fan, but I have to side with Tibco on this one. They've had the name since 94, they are now owned by Reuters, and they've got their niche and a solid product. Apple should quietly settle, change the name, and hope that their investors won't look too deeply into this. Sorry, but they could've resolved this years ago, why the arrogance?

      Here's some good info [macobserver.com] on the company, and what this is all about.
      • My question is this: what's wrong with zeroconf? That's the IEEE's name for the same technology.
        • My question is this: what's wrong with zeroconf?

          My prediction? This is exactly the name they'll change their "Rendezvous" software to, in order to settle the suit. Hmmmm. Time will tell.

        • Zeroconf and Rendezvous are different. That's what.

          Zerconf is a standard, Rendezvous is one implementation of that standard. So Rendezvous provides a set of APIs and services that can be used in software products.

          Hence to simply name it the underlying standard would probably end up being confusing and misleading. That's why Apple's rendezvous /= IEEE's zeroconf.
  • No confusion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2003 @05:57PM (#6818865)
    A major point of debate in trademark disagreements is confusion. Will Apple's use of Rendezvous be confusing to people who are familiar with TIBCO's use of Rendezvous? The answer is clearly no: TIBCO's Rendezvous is a messaging solution that's part of their enterprise blah-blah-ware system. Apple's Rendezvous is a network configuration and service advertisement technology. The only thing they have in common, and I mean this quite literally, is that they both involve computers.

    No case. Five gets you ten the case never goes to court.
    • Re:No confusion (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Stigmata669 ( 517894 )
      Actually, Apple's Rendezvous also has a messaging componant in iChat, so there is a shred of a case.
      • No Rendezvous does not contain a messaging component in iChat. That's like saying that TCP/IP contains a file transfer component in FTP, or a messaging component in IRC. iChat uses the Rendezvous API to advertise and discover other iChat users on the local subnet.
      • Nope. iChat isn't part of Rendezvous, and you can use iChat with or without Rendezvous.

        -jcr
      • iChat is for human-to-human messaging; TIBCO's Rendezvous product is for program-to-program messaging as a behind the scenes multicast transport for all kinds of applications. Think "broadcasting real-time stock prices to trader's workstations."
    • There might be confusion: Apple's Rendezvous can be used to discover messaging systems on the network, so you can have a 'Rendezvous-Aware' chat program for instance.

      It is at least enough to start a case. You could probably tell from context which Rendezvous was being discussed, but it could get close...

      As for it not going to court: I agree. It'll be settled out of court most likely.
    • by lightspawn ( 155347 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @01:56AM (#6821593) Homepage
      Will Apple's use of Rendezvous be confusing to people who are familiar with TIBCO's use of Rendezvous? The answer is clearly no: TIBCO's Rendezvous is a messaging solution that's part of their enterprise blah-blah-ware system. Apple's Rendezvous is a network configuration and service advertisement technology.

      As someone who's had to struggle with (Tibco) Rendezvous documentation, let me assure you that confusion is very likely even if you've never even heard of Apple's Rendezvous.
    • Tibco has a trademark for use of a word in a specific context. They have a right to market their product using this work and not have their marketing screwed by people getting the product they are marketing mixed up with any other product.

      Think for a second of a non-computer nerd: s/he knows nothing about zero configuration blah blah software _or_ "enterprise blah-blah-ware". One network software that doesn't require you to put in those funny number thingies to do things like chatting. The other one lets y
    • The problem is, if you've ever researched filing for a trademark, you'll find that the categories are pretty broad - Apple and Tibco both fall within the same category of information technology, which means there is a definite conflict by USPTO standards.
    • A major point of debate in trademark disagreements is confusion. Will Apple's use of Rendezvous be confusing to people who are familiar with TIBCO's use of Rendezvous? The answer is clearly no.

      Actually, that's backwards. It's not so important to current customers as it is potential customers.

      CEO: What do we use?
      CIO: Rendevouz!
      CEO: That thing that helps the Mac print??
      CIO: No, that messaging software from Tibco.
      CEO: Who the hell is that? Probably trying to get in on Apple's popularity. Let's use MS Exchang
  • Never Mind That (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2003 @06:37PM (#6819235)
    The USPTO website shows 22 hits for the word 'RENDEZVOUS'

    The oldest being Mother's Cake & Cookies Co. (1966)
  • by justforaday ( 560408 ) on Thursday August 28, 2003 @07:16PM (#6819552)
    maybe apple should just go back to calling it zeroconf. that sounds so much cooler anyways...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Oh what planet? Somebody needs to inform the... what are you calling yourselves? Nerds? Whatever you call yourselves, somebody needs to inform you that names like "zeroconf" and "mozilla" are not good. They are not cool. They are not useful or acceptable.

      Losers.
  • by fok ( 449027 ) on Thursday August 28, 2003 @08:17PM (#6820029) Homepage
    I cant even sey 'rendezvous'!!!
  • by ZackSchil ( 560462 ) on Thursday August 28, 2003 @08:55PM (#6820241)
    Apple isn't even selling Rendezvous as a product! It costs nothing to implement and its specifications and quite a bit of example code for it are open to the public to use. I don't see how Apple is capitalizing on anything when there is no capital involved, except perhaps that which was used to develop the technology.
    • Selling is only part of it. Here is the whole law:

      (1) Any person who shall, without the consent of the registrant--

      (a) use in commerce any reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation of a registered mark in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution, or advertising of any goods or services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive; or

      Now I am not sure that it causes confusion but it clearly covers distribution also
    • Following that logic, we could start calling Linux "Windows": after all, its free AND open source, I don't see how linux is capitalizing from the name...

    • The issue is "causing consumer confusion". I can't give out paper towels and call them "Kleenex". The fact that I am distributing a product that has a similar function with the same name is what is damaging to the company since when people see "Kleenex", they think of the product "Kleenex-brand tissues", even though a paper towel is clearly not a tissue.

      Tibco actually probably has a case here. I'm not saying it's right, but a messaging application and a network protocol are probably close enough to cause co

      • But honestly, I've never heard of Tibco in my life before now. Anyone familiar with Tibco's product would know the difference and anyone who isn't probably wouldn't care. The technology plays to the same market (IT) but individuals in that market should be intelligent enough to tell the difference. If they can't then they need to be fired and replaced with competent employees.

        IT Employee: "I saw the word Rendezvous on Mac OS X 10.2's ad in time magazine, did no research whatsoever on the product and was
        • The technology plays to the same market (IT) but individuals in that market should be intelligent enough to tell the difference.

          Well, that's what the court will have to decide. I'm not saying you're wrong, but that is the question: Is a lay-person, even one in the field, going to get them confused?

          As for Tibco, I have heard of them. I don't know much about them, but I've heard of them. If I had seen their product ad or whatever for "Rendezvous", the first thing I would think would be Apple's technology. I

  • Correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by Curt ( 37359 ) on Thursday August 28, 2003 @09:14PM (#6820344)
    Tibco has owned the name since 1994. It seems that Apple doesn't want to pay what Tibco wants."

    Actually, that should read Tibico claims to have been using the name since 1994. Not owns. It is not a registered trademark, they merely applied for it. The process is not complete. In fact, they only filed for it May 21, 2003.

    Tibico's Rendezvous [uspto.gov]

    Apple filed for the name Rendezvous on May 6, 2002.

    Apple's Rendezvous [uspto.gov]

    Do I think this will really be a problem for Apple? No more than OS-9 and Mac OS 9.... at least those were both Operating Systems, in some sense.
    • Re:Correction (Score:2, Informative)

      by RazzleFrog ( 537054 )
      You're right. But check out this one from TEKNEKRON [uspto.gov]. There's is from 1995 and it says:

      br.
      "Computer software and associated documentation to assist in data communication in networked computing systems using client-server and peer-to-peer communication techniques."
    • In fact, they only filed for it May 21, 2003.

      Tibco filed for it on May 20, 2002. Apple filed for it May 6, 2002. Yet Tibco was granted the trademark on March 4, 2003. Apple has yet to be granted the trademark. However, it was filed for opposition on July 8. My understanding [uspto.gov] is that after it is filed for opposition, other companies (i.e. Tibco) have 30 days to oppose.

      I'm not sure why Tibco's trademark was registered before Apple's, when Apple applied for it first.
      • Re:Correction (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually you are both right.

        Tibco filed for "Tibco Rendezvous" on May 20, 2002 and was registered on March 4, 2003.
        Tibco then filed for "Rendezvous" on May 21, 2003 and has not been assigned an attorney yet.
        As you mentioned, Apple filed for "Rendezvous" on May 6, 2002 and is currently published for opposition.

        So "Tibco Rendezvous" is registered but plain "Rendezvous" is still being contended with Apple ahead in the review process. I'm not sure how this affects Tibco's case but if they applied for "Rendez
    • Sorry about the dead links, the dynamic code wasn't as obvious to me as usual...

      Anyhow if you go to USPTO [uspto.gov] and select a search collection of "trademarks" - and do a basic search for Rendezvous...

      Apple's will be the 5th one down, Tibico's the 9th (Be amazed by how many people have registered or tried to register Rendezvous for all sorts of things - 137 records contain Rendezvous! and this has less records than a lot of stuff, probably because its too hard for most consumers to spell...)

      However, neither App
  • Funny thing, "rendez vous" also means "surrender!"

    Now, before you make jokes about France and surrender, I'm not French!
  • by CptTripps ( 196901 ) on Thursday August 28, 2003 @11:24PM (#6820998) Homepage
    A few years back Apple decided to call their new internet service "iTools" a name that Tenon had a TM on for 2 years at that point. Apple's response? "We can both use it...they are different."

    I'm not sure if it was because of Tenon that Apple changed it to ".Mac" but it was a pretty shitty thing to do to Tenon. iTools is a great product.
  • by Zhe Mappel ( 607548 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @02:53AM (#6821749)
    OK, OK, it looks bad, but come on. I don't think we should hasten to blame Apple for this, even though somebody else owns the trademark. As one of the great trademark and patent attorneys of the 20th century, Gustav Senkavoy, of the Copenhagen University of Law, was fond of saying over and over again, in the years after his retirement when he could be found wandering the Fluffestrasse talking to himself, "Trademark....Shmademark! Ho ho!"

    In fact, there are lots of ways that these things happen, and most of them are documented in the 1998 book, Hoo Boy! Here We Go Again!: Apple's Purity Explained To Its Critics Again by the Apple Board of Directors (with a foreward by the Virgin Mary). Time and again, when viewed through any objective lens, the bottom line turns out to be that Apple is incapable of wrong, and that covers both earthly and heavenly law. If the space-time continuum puckers just long enough for an exception to this rule, the elephants who bear the world on their shoulders will have sneezing fits, so don't even go there.

  • Bah (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Harv ( 102357 )
    Color me cynical, but it also entirely possible that Tibco, knowing that any suit against Apple for infringment would be instantly posted to major tech sites, like SlashDot, filed this suit as a PR move. I think, in fact, that this is the most likely explanation for why they filed.

    They can't have been blind to the boatload of free advertising for their otherwise invisible product that such a move would garner. The legal fees are much cheaper than an ad campaign.

  • Off the top of your head...

    1. Name one Tibco product that uses Rendezvous.

    2. Name one Apple product that uses Rendezvous.
  • Anyone else here play Magic? Since, say, 5th Edition? Remember "fizzle" and "summoning sickness"?

    For those who don't, the point is this: even if Apple is forced to change the name, "Rendezvous" at this point is probably pervasive enough to still be called that by the people who use the products that use Rendezvous.

    On the other hand, Xerox is a registered trademark. Can anyone xerox this document for me? The Canon photocopier is in the next room.

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