back to article Big Red tells crypto-coin publication: One does not simply call one's website 'OracleTimes'

Oracle is threatening serious legal consequences for a blockchain and cryptocurrency news service called "OracleTimes". Big Red's lawyers have written to OracleTimes pointing out that Larry Ellison's database behemoth has been using the name Oracle since at least 1979 and accusing the website of potentially confusing readers …

  1. Alister

    I wonder if Larry ever visited Delphi...

    1. Mage Silver badge


      Unless they are selling a Database there is no case.


      What next No-one allowed to put Apple in a name? Which Apple Inc pinched from Apple Corp. They even promised they'd not do music so as to get off the hook...

    2. Captain Hogwash

      Hey Larry

      Know thyself!

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I wonder if Larry ever visited Delphi...

      If he ever does or even hears of it, he'll sic his lawyers on those long dead Greeks.

  2. katrinab Silver badge

    "We can only hope no one tells Oracle Corp about the beloved Berkshire shopping and dining destination just down the road from its British HQ in Reading."

    That shopping centre has made international headlines recently, as the site of the first UK branch of a fried "chicken" supplier called Chick-Fil-A, which failed spectacularly; and they ended up announcing their closure 8 days after they opened.

    If they hadn't heard about it before, they have now. It has however been around for 20 years now, so they are out of time for any trademark claims. If you consider it to be a "new" shopping centre, that is a sign that you are in fact an old person. The shopping centre is now older than many of the people who work in it.

    1. NightFox

      There's been an Oracle there in Reading since the 1640's - when I think most people were still on dBase II

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        A workhouse though, not a shopping centre, so a different trademark category.

        1. IGotOut Silver badge

          I don't know, some of those on zero hour contracts in the shops may draw some comparisons

    2. bpfh

      I keep reading chick filla

      And think it’s either a male enhancement product or some sort of grout....

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    But of course

    If I were an avid tarot reader, it is absolutely obvious that I would immediately think of Oracle Corp when stumbling upon a site named Oracle Times. It is blindingly obvious that nothing containing the name Oracle has ever, in the history of Mankind, ever meant anything other than Oracle Corp.

    Someone is going to have to invent a new concept for Ellison's ego. Or maybe we just use him as a reference, as in "that guy has an ego of 1 ellison".

    1. richardcox13

      Re: But of course

      > "that guy has an ego of 1 ellison".

      Much like the Helen, I think you would need to use subdivision for almost all cases. For someone with a huge ego a microellison would likely be about right.

      1. DBH

        Re: But of course

        My significant other once made a paper boat and left it on a pond, where it sank. I'd still describe her as a full millihelen

      2. TonyJ

        Re: But of course

        So... one microellison = rampant sociopath

        Two and you're into rabid psychopath

        Three and you become, what, 2 BoJo's?

    2. Psmo

      Re: But of course

      Indeed, I was reading some of Aesop's fables the other day, wondering how a RDBMS related to anthropomorphic morality studies.

      I would say 1* for the book, though.

      Overuse of memes and clichés.

    3. 's water music

      Re: But of course

      If I were an avid tarot reader, it is absolutely obvious that I would immediately think of Oracle Corp when stumbling upon a site named Oracle Times

      Well duh, how's a tarot reader gonna make accurate predictions without crunching some big data in the background?

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: But of course

      Someone is going to have to invent a new concept for Ellison's ego. Or maybe we just use him as a reference, as in "that guy has an ego of 1 ellison".

      That's something for the El Reg Standard's Bureau to contemplate. Seems the world of tech bosses and nations have their share of egos that need to be classified and sorted.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: But of course

        That could open the Gates to something massive...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's the O2 Centre in Finchley Rd, not connected to the mobile company or their 'tent' on the Greenwich peninsula... and not far way was Star Box, a small stall selling coffee that annoyed a big corporation that I can't remember the name of (the guy running it had communist leanings and it was named after the 'red star'... honest guv!)

    My favourite used to be McDoner not far from Highbury & Islington station that received a 'cease and desist'... one's a place selling greasy meat with a few green bits for decoration, the other is a takeaway kebab house (haven't been that way for years)

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      There was a Big Mac's cafe in the west midlands. He won his case, as he was a big guy called Macdonald (I think that was name).

      I do like the cheeky named Karachi Fried Chicken in Brum along with Safebury's small supermarkets.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        There was a Wellworth's chain in Ireland, in fact, for all i know there still could be. The signage was eerily familiar but I think the name was genuinely that of the owning family.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        There's a Bristol take-away called Miss Millie's Fried Chicken, who's "MFC" logo is in a suspiciously familiar font... (Although ironically the guy who set it up was friends with Colonel Saunders and had the first KFC franchise in the UK).

        On the subject of Bristol fast food outlets, there's also the Jason DonnerVan

      3. Jeffrey Nonken

        There was an MGM tape rental (videotapes, ofc.) not far from my flat. Told me once the studio had sent a pack of lawyers 'round for a chat. He showed 'em his driver's licence, they cried bitter tears and left him alone after that.

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Last time I was in a hospital there was O2 allover the place. I wonder when Telefonica's lawyers will get busy...

  5. chivo243 Silver badge

    Must be nice

    to have boat loads of cash and boats, to be able to float a legal bombardment against any body who looks at you wrong...

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Must be nice

      He also (still?) has a Mig-29 if he wants to get really in your face.

  6. Wellyboot Silver badge

    "oracle" is a term used in blockchain to define trusted data sources

    There's the problem right there.

  7. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    Proper oracles have cookies. Does Larry ?

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Anyone remember....

    "Page The Oracle"

    The ITV Ceefax service from eon's ago...

    Oracle Inc are scumbags of the highest order.

  9. chuckufarley

    I keep expecting...

    ...Oracle to file trademark, copyright, and/or patent claims against news organizations that print stories they don't like. I guess they don't do it because I am expecting it and no one is supposed to expect the Oracle Inquisition.

  10. nematoad Silver badge

    Keep away!

    I'm somewhat surprised that anyone would consider using oracle as part of their trading name given the disrepute that Ellison's gang have brought the name into.

    Who wants to have even the merest association with a company known for its litigiousness, sharp practice and general arrogance?

    For other examples of the kind of overreach shown here I recommend taking a look at Techdirt. The people there have a long list of big corporations throwing their weight about and sometimes getting their arses kicked for pulling such stunts.

    I hope that Oracle get their comeuppance for filing such a flimsy and frivolous attack.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Keep away!

      I imagine that "normal" people would have never heard of Oracle (the company)...

  11. chivo243 Silver badge


    sounds like coracle but not sea worthy! Or C worthy!

  12. DiViDeD

    Bear with me here - It's the mists of time blocking the view

    I seem to remember that Microsnot tried this many years ago, when they claimed that some small publishing company (Scanrom Publications of Cedarhurst, NY) had infringed their copyright on Microsoft Bookshelf by producing a CD-ROM (remember those?) library called "The First Electronic Jewish Bookshelf"

    I believe the judge determined that you cannot trademark commen English words, although where that puts Zuck's trademark on the word "face", I have no idea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bear with me here - It's the mists of time blocking the view

      If a large organisation like oracle corp threatens a smaller entity the only options are to concede or to go to court and, sadly, the winner will be the one with the deepest pockets. The small guy has no option but to concede, there needs to be some way of making resolution of these disputes more equitable.

      The real problem is that it is possible to trademark any single dictionary word or proper noun. That should not be allowed unless a new coinage like Tumblr. Multi-word phrases should only be permitted only if they are truly innovative (see KFC's "Family Feast" trademark dispute KFC do own that trade mark in respect of classes 29, 30 and 43 (food related) but not categories 16 (cardboard) or 17 (rubber), they missed a trick there... Asserting the trade mark against a small business may have been "legitimate" in that it was in breach of the trademark but it just serves to demonstrate the stupidity of permitting the registration in the first place and the stupidity of KFC for making the claim. If, say McDonalds, had started selling a "family feast" I'd still regard the registration as abusive but at least if KFC wanted to assert the registration it would be more of a fair fight.

      There's a long history of disputes over single words I recall the One-in-a-Million Ltd 20 years ago where Virgin managed to claim "ownership " of the word. Apple (a manufacturer of veblen goods) had a series of disputes with The Beatles Apple music label. EasyJet is a new coinage, a portmanteau word and as such I'd consider it valid but claiming ownership of the word "easy", not valid.

      A trade mark registration is limited to specified categories of use so it is acceptable for two businesses to use the same trade mark if the registrations are for different categories so apple could be registered for use in respect of computers and at the same time to another company in respect of music.

      Similar issues arise in respect of patents & copyrights and the protections are applied to domain name registration disputes. Try registering the domain name and see whose lawyers get to you first... It becomes more of an issue with domain names because while "virgin" could be assigned in all 45 trademark classes to 45 different companies there can only be one domain name, in that case surely "first come, first served" should apply and trade mark assertions disregarded. It is valid to raise a dispute when the issue is passing off - e.g. if one created a website to mislead visitors into believing they are at that of another organisation but that is very poorly policed at present evidenced by so many internet scams and phishing emails such as those still found in Google search results that "help" you apply for the free EHIC/E111 card for a fee.

      The whole issue of intellectual property rights is a mess. The various systems were all put in place for legitimate reasons, essentially to protect innovators from those who would steal their ideas, but have become perverted to protect the powerful and enable them to disregard the innovator's rights (Hoover vs Dyson being a prime example).

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lawyers gonna law

    While I enjoy poking Ellison's ego as much as the next commentard, I suspect that this may just be one of those situations where the lawyers think that they have to defend their trademark in order to keep their trademark, and sometimes they err on the side of ridiculous in terms of who they go after.

    The fact that this helps the lawyers look busy is, of course, a feature. The fact that it brings ridicule down on their employer is not their concern.

    1. Giovani Tapini

      Re: Lawyers gonna law

      Surely big red can only claim the word if it's capitalised, otherwise they will go after all sorts of weird targets.

      Mind you the "oracle" in the matrix also spoke in riddles and provided no straight answers, I should say that is a match in both name and behaviour...

    2. sbt

      ... they have to defend their trademark in order to keep their trademark

      Rival trademark applicants often use neglect as an argument in their favour. It's pretty reasonable to let folks use neglect to challenge since the value of a trademark is very much bound up in continuous usage in the marketplace rather than more concrete attributes like novelty or originality.

      Also, Oracle's mark would be limited to IT related fields which presumably the cryptidiots are expecting to play in. Shopping centres and the other examples in the article would be unchallengable by Oracle unless there's some IT connection I'm not seeing. Also, since they're using the compound "OracleTimes", not just "Oracle", it's not a certain win for Ellison & Co.

  14. Oengus

    Living up to the backronym

    This feels like Larry living up to the Oracle backronym "One real a$%! called Larry Ellison".

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