I've been staying out of this debate because it isn't JAWS-related, but it could do with some clarification. AS Yardbird points out, the lawsuit isn't about copyright. It's a trademark issue.
"Escalator" or "Xerox" aren't good analogies because those names began life as neologisms, while "freedom" is a common word. Among the issues that the makers of Freedom Box will need to address is when they started using "freedom" in relation to the appearance of FreedomScientific, whether they seek to exploit any name similarity, whether it does in fact cause confusion, and so on. As Bruce suggests, we don't know what went on behind the scenes, and it would be hard with such limited information to know if FS has a meritorious case.
As at least one other person said on this list, what saddens me is that resources of a small company, as I assume the Freedom Box company is, must now be expended in defending a lawsuit. In my mind, it goes to the old dilemma of how we think about such companies. Are they strictly commercial, or do they serve a public service that puts them in a special category, if only in our minds?
Finally, I'm personally troubled by so many names that companies and not-for-profits give themselves in this field. Many use names that imply the exact opposite of blindness. Here, I can't help wondering what the founders had in mind when they came up with "Freedom." Freedom from what?
End of detour. ----- Original Message ----- From: "Sean McMahon" <smcmahon@xxxxxxxx>I think the case is moot, because freedomscientific, again this is one word, isn't using the name freedom for anything but its company. It's like how eskillator is now a thing and no longer a brand name. Freedomscientific doesn't use the name freedom in any of their product lines, and the company who makes freedombox doesn't use freedom in their company name.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Yardbird" <yardbird@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>LOL, Allen. FS and its legal staff probably don't really think it's confusing anybody at the moment, either. This is a fairly normal business practice, to file suit just as a sort of prophylactic preemption. Like certain wars that will go unnamed. Before filing the complaint, I'm sure the FS lawyers exchanged some correspondence and a few phone calls with the other company's lawyers, maybe over a period of many months, trying to intimidate them into giving up the use of the word "Freedom" in their product name. Only when the other company resisted and things were ar perceived to be at an impasse would the FS legal team proceeded with the suit. The conflict needn't strike you or me as being very realistic. The FS hope is just to get it so no one in the adaptive tech industry except for them uses the word Freedom for anything, leaving it referring only to their company whenever someone hears it or reads it. It's like an Alpha male dog marking out territory. Just a matter of course. Just business, as they say.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Allan Wong" <allanwkf@xxxxxxxxx> To: <jfw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2007 8:53 PM Subject: FreedomScientific, Inc. Asked to Cease Lawsuit Against Serotek Corporation for me, it is not confusing at all, at least up to this moment. Warmest Regards, Allan Wong From: "E.J. Zufelt" <everett@xxxxxxxxx> MessageGood evening,I know very little about trademark infringment in the United States. However, I find it difficult to believe that a significant number of persons are confused between "Freedom Scientific's JAWS", and "Serotech's Freedom Box". Is this really confusing people?
Everett ----- Original Message ----- From: Darrell Shandrow To: jfw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2007 8:07 PM Subject: Re: Freedom Scientific, Inc. Asked to Cease Lawsuit Against Serotek Corporation Hello John,Serotek provides alternative technology for the blind, some of which does compete with the JAWS screen reader sold by Freedom Scientific. Their System Access screen reader is relatively new to the field, but their FreedomBox Network has been around since 2000. FreedomBox Network is essentially an online service similar to AOL. In fact, many of us refer to the FreedomBox Network as AOL for the blind. System Access and their newer remote access technologies provide completely mobile computer access to virtually any system, as well as potentially new employment opportunities for blind people who must have remote access to other computers.
Freedom Scientific is suing Serotek over the use of the term "FreedomBox". Please feel free to read http://www.blindaccessjournal.com and http://www.thedesertskies.com as well as do Google searches, before deciding whether or not you will sign onto the petition.
Thanks.Darrell Shandrow - Accessibility Evangelist Visit http://www.SaveSerotek.org and ask Freedom Scientific to stop suing! Information should be accessible to us without need of translation by another person. Blind Access Journal blog and podcast: http://www.blindaccessjournal.com Check out high quality telecommunications services at http://ld.net/?nu7i
----- Original Message ----- From: John Ramsey To: jfw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2007 3:53 PM Subject: RE: Freedom Scientific, Inc. Asked to Cease Lawsuit Against Serotek CorporationWhat is the lawsuit about? I have no idea who this other company is or what they provide, so I am totally lost. Take care, John
-----Original Message-----From: jfw-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:jfw-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Darrell Shandrow
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2007 5:20 PM To: jfw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx; jfw-employment@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx;blindtech@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: Freedom Scientific, Inc. Asked to Cease Lawsuit Against Serotek Corporation
Freedom Scientific, Inc. Asked to Cease Lawsuit Against Serotek CorporationAn online petition is being circulated to everyone in the assistive technology industry and the blind community for the purpose of collecting signatures showing support for the concept that Freedom Scientific, Inc. should cease their lawsuit against Serotek Corporation.
May 20, 2007 -- We at the Blind Access Journal call upon everyone in the assistive technology industry and the blind community to sign the Save Serotek Petition found at http://www.saveserotek.org asking Freedom Scientific, Inc. to cease their trademark infringement lawsuit against Serotek Corporation. After allowing sufficient time to collect a significant number of signatures, the signed petition will be sent, via certified mail, to the Board of Directors of Freedom Scientific, Inc. We invite redistribution of this press release to all interested parties, post it on blogs, discuss it on podcasts and insure its wide distribution to all independent and mainstream media outlets. E-mail, MSN Windows Live Messenger, Skype and telephone queries are welcome from all interested in this vital effort. We thank you in advance for your support.
Darrell Shandrow - Accessibility Evangelist Visit http://www.SaveSerotek.org and ask Freedom Scientific to stop suing! Information should be accessible to us without need of translation by another person. Blind Access Journal blog and podcast: http://www.blindaccessjournal.com Check out high quality telecommunications services at http://ld.net/?nu7i
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