RealTime IT News

Tibco Sues Apple for Trademark Infringement

Business integration software maker Tibco Software filed suit Wednesday against Apple Computer , alleging the computer vendor infringed on two trademarks for its Rendezvous name and messaging software.

Palo Alto, Calif.'s, Tibco filed the suit in the District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming Cupertino, Calif.'s, Apple infringed on the trademarks with intent to trade on its name and hurt its business.

Tibco is requesting the court stay Apple from using the Rendezvous name and award it damages for Apple's use of the name.

Tibco uses the term Rendezvous to describe the messaging system for its flagship Active Enterprise suite of business integration products. It provides real-time messaging and the company considers it the "backbone" of a suite whose focus is to enable software integration on the fly. The software has been downloaded by more than 1,000 customers and is supported by major vendors.

Apple has used the term Rendezvous publicly since September 2002 to describe its networking technology to connect devices over any IP network, such as Ethernet or 802.11-based wireless networks. Major developers such as Canon, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Lexmark, Philips, Sybase and Xerox have announced support for Rendezvous in printers and consumer electronics.

In its complaint, Tibco states that it has been using its Rendezvous trademark since 1994 and its Tibco Rendezvous mark since 2000 in conjunction with its software, spending a lot of time and money cultivating the products bearing its name.

Tibco is claiming that Apple was fully cognizant of the Tibco marks and software when it began using the name Rendezvous in 2002 for "software closely related" to its own Rendezvous software. Tibco said it approached Apple about the issue but when it was rebuffed, it decided to pursue legal recourse.

"Rendezvous has been a TIBCO mark for many years and is one of our flagship products," said George Ahn, chief marketing officer, Tibco. "For quite some time we have tried to reach an amicable agreement but, given Apple's continual refusal to honor our trademark, we have been forced to take action."

The IT sector has been a stomping ground for a litany of patent and trademark infringement cases over the last few years.

In March 2003, Supreme Court justices pared the scope of a federal trademark law that used in spats over domain names to make it more difficult for trademark owners to win lawsuits over alleged infringements of their intellectual property rights.

In the paid search space, fitness company Mark Nutritionals filed lawsuits against Overture, AltaVista, FindWhat and Kanoodle for alleged trademark infringement last year.

Also, eBay has recently requested that Google ban advertisers from bidding on keywords or related phrases that encroached on its trademark.