My Response to the Web 2.0 Service Mark Controversy
There’s been a lot of flak over Tim O’Reilly’s desire to trademark the term “Web 2.0″. The following is my response that I left on his site and expresses (somewhat succinctly) how I feel about it.
According to Wikipedia: Web 2.0 generally refers to a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that lets people collaborate and share information online. In contrast to the first generation, Web 2.0 gives users an experience closer to desktop applications than the traditional static Web pages.”
Web 2.0 is a term often applied to a perceived ongoing transition of the World Wide Web from a collection of websites to a full-fledged computing platform serving web applications to end users. Ultimately Web 2.0 services are expected to replace desktop computing applications for many purposes.
To some extent Web 2.0 is a buzzword, incorporating whatever is newly popular on the Web (such as tags and podcasts), and its meaning is still in flux. O’Reilly recently claimed exclusive use of the term for conference names, further muddying the waters.
Given that the term ‘Web 2.0′ is just a “buzzword” for a trend in the World Wide Web, then the question begs to be asked is it reasonable that it could be trademarked any more than the words ‘Internet’, or ‘Blogosphere’ or anything else representing a generic “buzzword” that belongs to the greater public domain?
This is something that I would have expected from Bill Gates, and it would appear to be nothing more than a shameful power grab by certain corporate types that have a need to control things.
For indeed the primary purpose of trademarking anything is “control”. This notion is also indicative of a dangerous trend that is becoming more prevalent within the blogosphere and indeed the entire web.
Yes, as Mr. O’Reilly states a trademark is for preventing confusion within the marketplace or passing off on someone else’s turf, but he also forgets to mention towards what end? As someone who owns several trademarks and having worked in law, I can tell you with some certainty that a trademark is for enforcing exclusive use of a name or product for commercial gain.
So who is zooming who here? If indeed it is not Mr. O’Reilly’s intention to own the exclusive “right to all use of the term Web 2.0″, then he could easily prove that by abandoning this nonsensical enterprise.
Albeit I am impressed with Mr. O’Reilly’s eloquent retort, but unfortunately my gut tells me that it is just smoke and mirrors to smooth over rough waters. For if it is true that the term “Web 2.0″ is going to be trademarked then I recommend that henceforth none of us should even consider using the term.
Of course, Tim could prove me wrong by showing his good faith and publicly denouncing his (or his partners’) desire to trademark the term, and in that respect I highly recommend that he does abandon this ridiculous notion and be satisfied with having been given the honor of coining the term. All kudos will be acknowledged.
Then again, maybe I should be calling my lawyer tomorrow and registering Web 5.0 (Dennis Howlett already owns 4.0). Now there’s an idea.
Sorry to have to disagree with you Tim, but I’m just expressing my right to say what’s on my mind (so long as I still can).
Instead of building walls let’s keep the internet open and available to everyone.
Related links: blog bloke, instabloke, blog, weblog, blogging, web 2.0, internet, computers and internet, technology, tech, web 2.0, web 2, conference trademark, o’reilly