Who ya gonna call ?
If you fancy creating a blog or website to discuss the Arm architecture or the Softbank-owned outfit that develops it, keep the British CPU designer's name out of the domain name you choose – or draw the wrath of its lawyers. The Register offers that advice after Maria Markstedter – a noted author, assembly language expert, …
Yup, events like this make you realise just how far we've come from those early days when ARM was still just a TLA for something a bunch of Acorn engineers were playing around with and eager for the rest of the world to talk about, and not a global behemoth of a company in its own right that's now so overburdened with corporate crap it's all to easy to forget they do still do the odd bit of engineering every now and again...
Hope they remember to amend their "S-1" to include the statement, "we just started an intimidation suit against somebody for claiming that ARM has security flaws, which could open us upto a regulatory bitch slapping. And we are currently praying that Maria Markstedter isn't an Eu citizen"
"Investor" (sort of) here.
A real investor is not going** to be impressed by these sorts of actions. In fact they might construe it as a negative given that ARM's relationships with third party developers is as important at least as important as their engineering IP.
(**Should be, that is. A lot of them still just go with the flow, imbibing the Korporate Koolaid, since as we all know "Nobody ever got fired for selecting IBM".)
Oh honey, you had no relationship with Arm.
You had a relationship with people working at Arm.
Now you know what your relationship with Arm is : that which Arm lawyers accept.
And apparently, they don't accept nuthin'.
So maybe you should stop promoting the marvellous people at Arm, since Arm lawyers don't give a shit.
Very true. But that’s what comes of a company run by accountants. The environment which created ARM, that has had a positive impact on so much technology was very much built upon and because of those relationships with the people.
Such a shame, and ARM should be ashamed of itself. They could have easily reached out and put in place a formal agreement to protect its trademark whilst encouraging the ecosystem surrounding it which helps to create future generations of developers proficient in developing products based on ARM.
To be honest, there shpuld be a presumption in law that a holder of intellectual property has only one umbrella domain and all their stuff lives underneath.
Then, any appearance of their trademarks and shit in a different domain is clearly not a violation. It can't be passing off because it can't be official because it isn't in the right place.
As beneficial side-effects, there would be much less pressure for new TLDs and end-users would have an easier time figuring out whether a site like (say) windowscentral.com was a source of official Microsoft advice and tools, or not.
Whilst I'd certainly go along with the "one domain per company" idea, if only because it'd make life so much easier when deciding which URLs definitely ARE official, in scenarios like this where we're discussing IP from company A which then gets licenced to companies B through ZZ9pluralZAlpha. we'd also need to bear in mind that any information about that IP held on or obtained from the domains associated with those licencees would also need to be considered official.
So in such scenarios, where we KNOW the trademarks etc. DO get legitimately used by third parties and therefore appear on their websites/in their product literature/on their devices/etc, there IS still the potential for passing off offences to occur if another company were to come along offering unlicenced copies of the IP and using the trademarks etc to give the impression they were actually a legit licencee.
I think for me this whole issue of use of company/product/etc names should simply boil down to the context and intent - if you're using the name in a way that could cause harm (in any form - physical, financial, reputational etc.) to the holder of the name or any end user, then it's a no-no, otherwise fill your boots.
Granted, that opens up a new can'o'worms regarding how you decide (and who decides it) what constitutes harm, but at least we'd be moving the bar slightly higher than it is now where the name holder can stop anyone else using the name almost without any need to provide a good reason beyond "it's my name", and requiring them to at least come up with a more sensible justification for why that particular use of the name shouldn't be allowed.
TBH, I wonder if the fundamental problem isn't with the rights holders but with the legal system itself - I don't have an issue with rights holders wanting to protect those rights when failing to do so would genuinely be an issue, but we hear too often about cases where the only reason action has been taken by the holders is because they have to be seen to be protecting their rights at all times, otherwise it can act against them at times when they genuinely do need to take action. So if that could be addressed (perhaps by a change in the law to permit non-damaging use as above), it'd make life easier for all concerned - except perhaps the lawyers who'd be left with less work to do and less money to make out of doing it...
"I think the lawyers of the first two companies are very versed with taking down sites."
No, not really. They don't do what ARM has done here. For example, if I look through a list of popular domains for Apple, I can find quite a few sites that contain those trademarked terms. For example, if I search for Apple and remove the ones owned by Apple, I find the following:
appleinsider.com: covers Apple products
applebees.com: This is a restaurant.
patentlyapple.com: Some guy posting articles related to Apple.
applevis.com: A site that talks about using Apple products if you're blind or visually impaired.
applegazette.com: I don't know why it's called this, but it's a blog that doesn't talk about Apple products.
This is not all the ones I found. This is a subset of addresses that clearly had "apple" in the name. All of them are still around. I can do the same with Windows. I'm sure they have filed trademark complaints before, but they probably reserve that for malicious uses or someone actually trying to impersonate them, not someone who merely talks about their products like ARM has done.
Microsoft have always struck me as being in a "Having your cake and eat it" positionwhen it comes to trademarks. This is a company that claims a trademark of "Windows" for windowing systems and "Word" for word processors but has claimed "Internet Explorer" is a generic term and thus not trademarkable.
In the case that is the subject of the article though it seems the (original) site owner is on solid ground: it it long established that trademark protection does not extend to cases where such use is necessary to refer to a company or its products. That is why a site like The Register does not need permission for Microsoft, Apple or indeed ARM to refer to those companies whenever they publish articles critical of them. I suspect this is lawyers simply trying it on knowing there is no real case. They know people are scared of getting involved in expensive legal cases, especially when they are acting simply as intermediaries such as the hosting provider here. The article is lacking in specifics but this is particularly true in the US where each party generally pays its own costs which inevitably favours those with the deepest pockets.
Out of those, only appleinsider , Applevis , patentlyapple potentially infringe trademark . This is because trademark is defined within a particular domain like “computer equipments” or “restaurants”.
Being a word in the language is irrelevant: plenty of words are trademarked, it depends on context.
Don’t shoot the messenger….that’s just the way UK law works.
The point, however, is that none of them actually violate trademark for exactly the reason you state. Apple Insider isn't a tech company, it is a media company that writes about tech companies. It doesn't matter that, when it says Apple, it's talking about the company instead of something else, because it isn't making products and alleging that Apple did so. I don't know what arm-assembly did exactly, but it was likely also an informational site that was not a chip manufacturer. Had they been selling something that implied that ARM endorsed it, they could have complained about that, but if that was the case, they could have complained no matter what domain it was and could complain now that it's on a different one. What they actually complained about was the use of their trademark as a substring on a site that didn't otherwise have any conflict with their trademark, so their complaint is probably invalid. Try getting a web host to understand the difference, though, because they deal with a lot of real fraudulent sites all the time and probably respond quickly if some verifiable company sends a note saying that something needs to be taken down.
So, I did a quick trademark search, as per standard
ARM is trademarked in classes 9, 42, 5, 35, 38.
In other words, yes for the obvious categories computer hardware, and CPU designs. But also advertising services provided by internet, provision of business information (35). So that’s probably what did for arm-assembly.com. It’s a blog, and probably has advertising income due to banner ads, and if it infringes on ARM trademark in that domain (which it clearly does), and has any income, said income can be claimed by the trademark owner. ARM don’t have to prove “confusion”, that’s just how trademark law works.
I don’t *like* trademark law, the way it works is stupid, but it is virtually the same in every country. If you start any business with a web domain and fail to check the database before registering your web domain, you’re an idiot. It’s a ten-second job. A perfectly nice idiot, and a decent human being, maybe, but an idiot nevertheless. It’s really the first advice on starting a company any tickbox list is going to tell you to check.
This post has been deleted by its author
You can view the site by putting into your /etc/hosts
It does not pretend to be ARM.
The closest that she comes is to say " Maria worked on exploit mitigation research alongside Arm in Cambridge" - note "alongside" which clearly shows that she is/was not an ARM person.
We all know what corporate lawyers are like. Most Big Tech entities are lawyer-led now. That's why they have to buy in innovation.
I keep seeing references in news articles to ARM being British. It's not. Not since it was flogged off to Softbank, who are Japanese. Get over it. It is no more British than most of our car companies are now. When you sell stuff, it isn't yours any more.
Arm was barely 40% British-owned when it went to SoftBank, however that's not too different to how it was constituted at inception.
The danger in being pedantic over what constitutes a "British company" is that you'll rule Arm out of ever being British at all as it was spun-out entirely with US capital (Apple) and US design tools (VLSI) based on a US idea (RISC) and a product from a then majority Italian-owned company (Acorn) originally inspired by the activity of US companies such as Western Design Center. The founding CEO and former chairman cut his teeth at Motorola, a US company, and it was he who made sure Arm was global from the outset; Sir Robin Saxby was a huge part of Arm's success but if you were to ask him I'm pretty sure he'd say Arm was both global and British.
That one would presumably be harder to wrestle away from the owner. You'd have to convince the .org.uk registrar that "linux" was improperly registered, since I'm pretty sure you'd have no luck with the person who created/registered the "arm" sub-domain.
Alternatively you could try to persuade a judge that it was passing off, but that seems equally unlikely to succeed.
Returning to the matter of arm-assembly, perhaps if that had been registered under .me (or a similarly non-corporate umbrella) we could argue that no rational observer would expect that to be owned by a corporate entity and so (again) it cannot be passing off.
Or ask through social media. A little egg on their face in the public is more likely to get some attention. The manner with which they did this really shouldn't be legal. It is a common word and she really should still have ownership of her own domains. IANAL but this seems more than is justified to protect a trade name or a copyright.
Sounds like a lawyer making work for themselves. I doubt the blog writer was directly in contact or had explicit permission to use the ARM name, it is plasted all over their products and building and has been forever. Sounds like a handshake agreement that was tolerated by other engineers until some suit got wind of it.
ARM is a big corporation now though, so get used to being alienated like this, it's run by a slimy US salesman and a bunch of burnouts from Accenutre and Deutsche Bank like everything Softbank touches. They've sent threatening letters to old employees too just to puff their chest for reference.
One potential issue I see is that RISC-V is an open standard, so no corporate behind it to protect against things like ARM's riscv-basis.com smear campaign.
Similar in theory to C++. Microsoft was able to misuse the C "branding" with COOL/C# because there was no corporation to pay the lawyers to waste everyone's time.
MS C# was based on MS version of Java, J++. Sun objected, so it was developed differently and called C#
C++ is compiled and Strustupp was unhappy it had to have C compatibility. The C# is also the real replacement for vb6 (vb.net is pointless) and runs on a VM.
It's not the Same as Apple (who should not have dropped Computer, or shouldn't have been Apple mimicking Beatles' Apple Corp), or Arm who should have stayed as Advanced (or Acorn) Risc Machine, or something else. Arm is too generic. That's why Kleenex was picked.
You are misrepresenting WHY Sun objected to Microsoft's usage of the name Java. The big problem was Microsoft took the Java standard and changed it in many ways to ONLY work on Windows. This was damaging to the Java goal of being a run on any platform promise.
Its was never just about the trademark it was about damaging a promise about the platform.
Seems like if companies feel they must wage their corporate wars (read: "pay the lawyers") via domainname registrars and isp's and the like, that they ought to at least be required to stand up something at the "defended" intellectual property domainname such that it resolves and even responds after the "successful" takedown.
I mean, is a cname to www.$corporatehome.com or a web redirect or something really that difficult? Perhaps so, else the "offensive" domainname wouldn't have needed taking down to being with....
All that aside, from TFA it does sound like ARM leading off with the lawyers instead of an email was perhaps a bit heavy-handed. Rightly or otherwise, ARM played the underdog part for a long time, and bullying a member of their community, if not an official partner, isn't a particularly good look.
I am assuming that the actual issue is that she registered domains through the hosting provider, or possibly that she used on-host content tools.
Personally, I can move my domain and content to another host at any moment if my host wants to roll over and have their tummy rubbed by lawyers.
Alternatively, she (quite reasonably) has better things to do with her life than fight lawyers who are being paid exceedingly well to just fuck her about.
You do have to take action to prevent a trademark from becoming a generic term: i has happened to lots of former trademarks like "escalator"
This is not going to happen if someone uses your trademark to talk about your products. It will happen if someo
Arm are hoping that people who do not understand this will be fooled by this statement and not think they are being idiotic.
I've stated in other comments that they're wrong about this being a violation, but they do have a responsibility to protect their trademark if they want to keep it. One of the reasons your trademark can be revoked is that you haven't been using it or that you have allowed others to do so to an extent that degrades the usefulness of the trademark to distinguish products. That is a relatively narrow thing, though, so this website not only doesn't fall under that responsibility, but likely doesn't violate the trademark in the first place.
A trademark has to be asserted by its holder. Someone else using the same mark infringes nothing at all unless the holder can show that they were attempting to pass themselves off as the holder.
There is no such thing as trademark violation.
Some territories allow trademarks to be registered. Look out for the (R) make rather than TM. It's something different.
It is true that "trademark violation" isn't a technical term. I think we all know what I meant, though. A use of a trademarked term that a court will agree is not allowed if the trademark holder pursues a case. It's not that unusual a term to describe it, since the law does have rules for what can happen with a trademark and the court will decide whether the use was permissible based on whether it follows those rules or not. The rest of your comment appears to say the same thing that I said.
《We primarily rely on patent, copyright, trade secret and trademark laws, trade secret protection and contractual protections ... to protect our IP rights.》
What? Secondarily on, or augmented with tactical nuclear weapons?
Not too far from saying "we have three unique features..."
I don't imagine she would have these problems hosting her content on arm-assembly.ru $5 or arm-assembly.su $26 (go figure) or arm-assembly.com.ru $3.44 (all available from nic.ru USD.)
I aways thought I wouldn't mind a DD or SU vanity domain - (eg sweeny.to.dd or tirami.su) but I suspect East Germany never had an internet presence.
In this case, it wasn't the registrar who was contacted but the host. I'm sure that, if you had a host that ignored the lawyers, they'd have gone after the registrar, but just having a name that the registrar won't take from you won't protect you if your host will respond and cancel your service.
East Germany didn't have a presence on the public internet, at least not an announced one. They did use the .dd domain for a private network between a couple universities, and they had some links that may have used someone else's internet connections, but probably not too much before the collapse.
When are big companies like Vogue, Apple, Hollywood studios, McDonald's etc going realise this arrogant bullying (because they have the well funded lawyers), is hurting their reputation and if they want well protected tradenames, don't use ordinary words or common names (and Apple copied the Beatles Apple Corp) Apple Books, Apple Watch are unsearchable as are many other "protected" names like Arm.
Stop attacking people for using arm in the name and go back to being called "Advanced RISC Machines". Type arm into wikipedia search.
Also how was Musk able to take X as a name and have x.com? Crazy. The mix of sheer arrogance, egotism and stupidity of some people and companies is amazing. I remember Intel once wanted the letter "i".
"I wrote my thesis about Arm security features and exploit mitigations for Arm's internal use, [have] given internal presentations, keynoted their conference, advocated for them, visited them at their HQ in Cambridge – all without compensation because I wanted this to be a mutually beneficial relationship instead of a gig."
In the corporate world, no good deed goes unpunished..
She was using Arm in the URL...yeah could get away with that quite easily but.
She was ALSO using the logos and other things to give the impression it was associated with Arm.
If I set up a website called Amazonsales.com, stuffed full of Amazon logos and sold stuff, I'd expect them to come down on me
You may have read the article, but I did too, either I'm going blind or you are hallucinating when you allege that she was using 'arm' logos based on what the article said.
Also there is no allegation that 'other things to give the impression it was associated with Arm.' were present on these domains.
Perhaps you were reading a different article?
Perhaps you have further verifiable information that would add to this story?