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.

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