Monday, May 2, 2005

Hey, you breathed my air!

It might seem that it would be a sensible thing if we were to ever get down to the business of settling what properly constitutes property rights — not that lawyers would ever be interested.

Apple Computer has been slapped with a lawsuit by Tiger Direct Inc. for allegedly infringing its trademark with the new Mac OS X "Tiger" operating system scheduled for release on Friday. Tiger Direct, which sells computers and related products on the Internet, said Apple's Tiger OS threatens to dilute its trademarked name.

[…] "Apple Computer has created and launched a nationwide media blitz led by Steven Jobs, overwhelming the computer world with a sea of Tiger references," Tiger Direct's attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.

[…] The retailer said Apple's use of the name "is causing confusion, mistake and deception among the general purchasing public." At the root of the issue appears to internet search results. Tiger Direct contends that Apple's use of the name has adversely affected its ranking amongst the Internet's largest search engines, Google and Yahoo, bumping the company from its usual spot in the first three results.
By initiating this frivolous lawsuit, Tiger Direct is contending that:

a) it has a right to something it did not pay for and received only incidentally by the effort of others completely unrelated to its enterprise;

and, b) its customers are idiots who cannot tell the difference between an operating system and a computer retailer — sort of like confusing a world-famous outerwear manufacturer with, say, a blog.

The cult of attaining reward for victim status without merit is alive and well in the American corporate world as well. Put like that, this lawsuit would have a chance if it was filed in a Canadian court.

Apple Insider, via Ravishing Light, who has more to say on the subject.
Silly-world-we-live-in Update: The lawsuit is hitched on by a Canadian for the free publicity.
Robert F. Young — a founder of Linux distributor Red Hat and now owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Canadian football team […] has offered to license the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' historical use of the word Tiger to Apple free of charge. The Hamilton Tigers Football Club, established in 1869, continued to be known as the Tigers (with its colours of yellow and black) until 1950, when the Tigers merged with the Hamilton Wildcats to become the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"136 years ago we were called The Tigers," Mr. Young said. "If anyone owns the exclusive rights to the word "tiger" with that much history and tradition, it's gotta be us."
Apparently, the ancient Greeks who coined the word tigris have lost the rights somewhere along the line.

From the Globe & Mail, via Slashdot.