SPARC No Fun At All; Threatens SparkFun

from the spark-up-the-lawyers dept

John Fenderson was the first of a few of you to send in a link (via Slashdot) to the story of how SPARC, the computer architecture company owned by Sun, is threatening SparkFun over trademark infringement claims. SparkFun is an electronics shop, which sells components and kits and the like. The two are pretty different. This whole situation apparently was "sparked" (heh heh) when SparkFun applied for its own trademark, at which point SPARC sought to block the trademark application. From there, they went on to sending a cease & desist. The folks at SparkFun do a nice job breaking down why the two marks are entirely different, and why even Sun employees seem to have no trouble understanding the difference between the two. This seems like yet another case of overly aggressive trademark enforcement, just because some lawyers feel the need to oppose anything that might conceivably be considered even close to similar.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 6:42am

    ...er, I don't get it.

    One is an acronym in caps, and one utilizes the word "spark". They're even spelled differently. Plus they include an entirely new syllable. Also, they appear to be selling to entirely different markets, consumer vs. industry.

    ....so where's the confusion?

    Oh, and before I forget:

    "This whole situation apparently was "sparked" (heh heh)"

    Love this site, kid, but leave the funny to us pros...

     

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    Steven (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 7:05am

    New customer

    I've been meaning to get an arduino board. Start up a new hobby. Now I know where I'll be buying all my parts. Straight from SPARC... oh wait, I mean SparkFun... I think... damn, now I'm so confused.

     

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    Richard (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 7:11am

    Why Sparkfun and not

    Sparkplug, SparkEnergy, Sparknotes, SparkChallenge, Spark-Online, Microsoft Embedded Spark (this one esp close to confusing with SPARC)

    Come on!

    Not even spelled same

    Simplez

    Eeeee!

     

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      Richard (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 7:21am

      Re:

      For those outside the UK the last part of the above comment is a reference to the highly successful (and amusing ) ComparetheMarket.com / ComparetheMeerkat.com UK ad campaign, which revolves around an invented trademark confusion.

      Strange that people prosecute these cases when ComparetheMarket has shown that "silly trademark confusion" makes a really effective publicity tool.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 8:39am

        Re: Re:

        I think after all the stress SparkFun get from this they should take a nice long jacuzzi bath. Now, where's Sergei and those bubbles ;-)

         

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    Richard (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 7:34am

    Microsoft Embedded Spark

    There might actually be a confusion between SparkFun and Microsoft Embedded Spark (maybe that's why Sparkfun decided to register their trademark) - but SPARC???

     

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    The Buzz Saw (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 7:57am

    ...really?

    SPARC needs to realize that "spark" is too generic of a term. It is a dictionary term and is subject to endless use in the business world. It can be part of product names, corporate protocols, departments, etc.

    Now, if SPARC had some far out name like Boogyggsby, only then would it have a claim against BoogyggsbyFun for blatantly riding coattails.

    I wonder how long until Syfy starts suing bookstores for having Sci-fi sections.

     

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    Liz, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 8:08am

    Makes me wonder if they'll go after Sparkplay Media next.
    http://www.sparkplaymedia.com/

     

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    DaveL (profile), Oct 26th, 2009 @ 8:34am

    Well... once again... a worthless law suit has provided some free marketing. I didn't know SparkFun existed, but now that I do I've got some ordering to do. I found several things on their site I could use.

     

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    vastrightwing, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 9:44am

    Can someone recommend a good SPARC plug

    for my Ford?

     

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    Always AC, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 10:31am

    A load of BS...Go Sparkfun

    I have a suggestion that SPARC can trademark (which they have link to their trademarks off their homepage - that's even worse than monster crap... I mean cable).

    SPARCdouche

    I would love your DH and others to post their "funny"

    http://www.sparc.org/trademarksListing.html

     

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    JustMe, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 12:25pm

    Reputation is a factor

    And something I shall consider when I look at renewing my handful of SUN machines.

    Don't be evil Sun, and reign in your lawyers. You do realize they are just doing to so they can bill you, right?

     

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    Simon Phipps, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 3:36pm

    Not Sun's Responsibility

    On Sun's behalf, I'd like to make clear that this action was taken by Sparc International (SI). SI is an independent trade association. Sun was involved in starting SI many years ago but today is one of several members and is not responsible for the actions SI takes. I've asked Sun's representative to SI to investigate, but beyond that there's not much else I can do.

    S.
    (Sun community ombudsman)

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2009 @ 8:15pm

      Re: Not Sun's Responsibility

      Was this action started by SI or SI's lawyers, i.e. were the lawyers told by SI to go after SparkFun specifically, or did the lawyers have a general mandate to go after whoever they thought they should, on behalf of SI ?

       

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    Dave, Oct 27th, 2009 @ 2:44am

    Balderdash, poppycock. (British derision, don'cha know)

    This is total rubbish and is just a money-making scam for the legal beagles. They must be feeling the pinch.

     

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