[access-uk] Re: Fw: [blind_geek_zone] Fw: [BCT] Some thoughts on FreedomScientific verses Seroteck

  • From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 23 May 2007 09:58:34 +0100

I believe that's incorrect. Freedom Scientific was formed in April 2000. 
They immediately filed for the trademark of "Freedom Scientific" in the 
US, and it was finally registered in December 2001.

Serotek, the company that sells the FreedomBox product line, was formed
in November 2001. "FreedomBox" is not a registered trademark.

References follow.

http://www.freedomscientific.com/fs_about/history.asp

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=6nvm08.2.1

http://www.freedombox.info/AboutSerotek.htm

--
Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

Steve Nutt wrote:
> Hi Barry,
> 
> Course, he hasn't addressed the fact that Freedombox was there first, in
> 1998, and Freedom Scientific got the name in 2001.  At one time, =
> Jonathan
> used to be objective, but he is losing credibility by the day in my =
> view.
> 
> All the best
> 
> Steve
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf =
> Of
> Dj Paddy
> Sent: 23 May 2007 03:00
> To: bcab@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Cc: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [access-uk] Fw: [blind_geek_zone] Fw: [BCT] Some thoughts on
> FreedomScientific verses Seroteck
> 
> I really had respect for Jonothon, untill i read this.
> 
> However, it seems he's been blinded by the almighty dollar and the =
> Corporate
> 
> life.
> 
> It's sickening that he's trying to write by pleading the role of the =
> humble=20
> journalist, whilst admitting his position within the company.
> 
> I feel Freedom Scientific regardless of the out come have dealt =
> themselves a
> 
> blow in the eyes of their customers and potential customers.
> Dj Paddy
> =D4=E0=06
> ----- Original Message -----=20
> From: "Rick Harmon" <rickharmon@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <blind_geek_zone@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:31 AM
> Subject: [blind_geek_zone] Fw: [BCT] Some thoughts on FreedomScientific=20
> verses Seroteck
> 
> 
>>
>> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D
>>
>> Visit my webpage and podcast feed at www.blind-geek-zone.net
>>
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----=20
>> From: "Larry Gassman" <lgsinger@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> To: "Blind Cool Tech" <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 7:36 PM
>> Subject: [BCT] Some thoughts on FreedomScientific verses Seroteck
>>
>>
>>
>>>> Jonathan Mosen wrote the following on his Exploders list.
>>> Larry
>>>
>>>
>>>> Last week, Freedom Scientific, Inc. filed suit against Serotek=20
>>>> Corporation
>>>> for trademark infringement with respect to the FreedomBox range of
>>>> products.
>>>> Since then, the matter has been discussed at length on some
>>>> blindness-related blogs and e-mail lists. I'd like by way of this =
> message
>>>> to
>>>> clarify what I view as some of the objectives of the suit. I am a =
> Vice
>>>> President at Freedom Scientific, and am extremely proud to work =
> there.
>>>> However writing this message is my own initiative as a former =
> technology
>>>> journalist. My aim in doing this is that people at least get a chance =
> to
>>>> consider facts over rhetoric.
>>>>
>>>> Firstly, let me talk a little about trademark law. A trademark's =
> purpose
>>>> is
>>>> to exclusively identify a source and origin of products. Importantly, =
> a
>>>> trademark only applies to a certain range of goods or services. One =
> of=20
>>>> the
>>>> questions I have seen on e-mail lists is, "how can Freedom Scientific
>>>> claim
>>>> to own the word Freedom." By taking this action, Freedom Scientific =
> is=20
>>>> not
>>>> seeking to do this. Rather, Freedom Scientific is simply enforcing =
> the
>>>> Freedom Scientific trademark, which it owns for certain goods. =
> Freedom
>>>> Scientific has invested to establish its trademarks and is only =
> seeking=20
>>>> to
>>>> enforce these valuable rights. Freedom Scientific has the legal =
> right,=20
>>>> and
>>>> the obligation to its customers and shareholders, to protect the use =
> of
>>>> its
>>>> trademark in the context of assistive technology. The concept of =
> using
>>>> common words in trademarks is common - for example the use of the =
> word
>>>> Apple
>>>> to describe a computer company. As is well known through recent news
>>>> stories, Apple is quite entitled to own this name in the context of
>>>> computer
>>>> hardware and software products. It does not, of course, mean that =
> Apple
>>>> has
>>>> any rights to the name when you eat a piece of fruit. Trademarks can
>>>> co-exist where there is no similarity between the businesses. For=20
>>>> example,
>>>> Delta Airlines and Delta Faucets are trademarks, but there is no =
> issue
>>>> there
>>>> because the businesses' purposes are totally different and there is =
> no
>>>> room
>>>> for confusion. Freedom Scientific is confident that its trademark =
> rights
>>>> will be upheld. The broadening of scope of the FreedomBox products to
>>>> include products like FreedomBox System Access (FBSA) offering access =
> to
>>>> mainstream applications only exacerbates the infringement.
>>>>
>>>> Trademarks are not some abstract thing. They are a company's =
> reputation.
>>>> They are legal property, and you can't simply take someone's property
>>>> without their consent.
>>>>
>>>> Secondly, I'd like to turn to the question, "why now." All sorts of
>>>> bizarre
>>>> speculation have been put forward as to the timing of this suit. =
> Freedom
>>>> Scientific made Serotek well aware of its position on this matter, =
> but
>>>> unfortunately Serotek was unwilling to negotiate a settlement to this
>>>> matter. No one likes having to go to court, but if you genuinely =
> believe
>>>> your property rights are being trampled upon, in the end there is no
>>>> choice
>>>> but to do so if you are unable to get a resolution any other way.
>>>>
>>>> Thirdly, it has been said that Freedom Scientific is giving the blind
>>>> community no credit by taking this action, and that everyone knows =
> the
>>>> difference between the two product lines. Rest assured, this is most
>>>> certainly not the case. I can tell you that Freedom Scientific has =
> been
>>>> contacted by Serotek customers seeking technical support, or even =
> wanting
>>>> to
>>>> buy a Serotek product. Thus, there is a likelihood of confusion.
>>>>
>>>> Fourthly, a petition has been established by the hosts of ACB Radio's =
> 
>>>> Main
>>>> Menu, calling itself the Save Serotek petition. The grossly =
> misleading
>>>> name
>>>> of this petition implies that somehow Freedom Scientific's objective =
> is=20
>>>> to
>>>> put Serotek out of business. As a result of the sensationalist name, =
> many
>>>> commenters to the Petition have made comments to this effect. All =
> Freedom
>>>> Scientific is seeking to do is protect its property and to seek
>>>> appropriate
>>>> compensation for the unlawful use of it.
>>>>
>>>> The objective here is not to put Serotek out of business. 2007 has=20
>>>> already
>>>> seen great innovation from Freedom Scientific and there's plenty more =
> to
>>>> come. Honest competition inspires excellence and is good news for the
>>>> customer. But I stress the word "honest." Yes, many people in =
> assistive
>>>> technology are motivated by a strong sense of purpose and commitment =
> to
>>>> making a difference. But these companies are still commercial =
> entities,
>>>> who
>>>> have every right to use the legal system to protect their property if =
> 
>>>> they
>>>> think they need to, just as you have a right to use the legal system =
> if
>>>> someone breaks into your house and takes something belonging to you
>>>>
>>>> In closing, I hope that those genuinely interested in the facts of =
> this
>>>> matter will take the time to read up on trademark case law, but most
>>>> importantly, will let the judicial process take its course. It occurs =
> to
>>>> me
>>>> that if Freedom Scientific has got it as wrong as a few people claim, =
> 
>>>> then
>>>> what do they have to fear? A jury will dismiss the case. I doubt that =
> 
>>>> will
>>>> happen though. If the law has been broken as I believe it has, then
>>>> Freedom
>>>> Scientific is quite entitled to redress.
>>>>
>>>> My hope is that sanity prevails and that Serotek has both the courage =
> and
>>>> the decency to brand its products in a fashion that wasn't already =
> being
>>>> used in this industry. I think they would gain a lot of respect from =
> the
>>>> blind community for acting honourably. Fair competition is not too =
> much=20
>>>> to
>>>> ask for, and it most certainly is worth fighting for.
>>>>
>>>> Those interested in the subject of trademarks may like to take a look =
> at
>>>> the
>>>> Wikipedia entry on the subject, found at:
>>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark.
>>>>
>>>> Jonathan Mosen
>>
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