Possible licensing issue with JavaSoft?

Tony Kimball alk at pobox.com
Wed Oct 29 14:49:02 PST 1997

Quoth Robert Bates on Wed, 29 October:
: I just got off the phone with QNX about porting Kaffe to QNX and using it
: in a commercial product... They expressed concern over my using it on a
: commercial platform, and even though Kaffe is a clean-room project, they
: have heard rumblings from JavaSoft about quashing any VM running without a
: JavaSoft license on a commercialized platform.

Where have they heard this?

: Has anyone got any info regarding the legalities behind these
: fears/concerns? 

I'm not a lawyer but I've been sued in the past:-).  I am very much of
the opinion that if JavaSoft were to sue you for using Kaffe, you
would win a bunch of money in your countersuit.  Moreover, JavaSoft
people (not corporate officers) have told me that Java is an open
spec, and that such a suit is the farthest thing from their minds.
(Frankly, I think they'd lose a lot of crucial staff if they attacked
freeware.)  Finally, there are commerical products already in
existence using non-JavaSoft development kits and JVMs, from Japan,
and there is no sign of legal action from JavaSoft -- quite the
contrary, they seem to be actively cooperating on interface
specification issues for embedded systems.

On the otherhand, if you were to use the word "Java" you would be
inviting some sort of action, since they regard trademark dilution as
a serious threat.  "JV" or "J" are typical work-arounds, allowing you
to identify the functional characteristics of your product without
implying certifiable compliance.

: QNX would love to know about it too, because
: they are in the process of sinking serious $$$ into a JavaSoft license to
: get a VM ported to run under QNX and Neutrino.

That's the only way they can ever use the Java name, branding, or
logos, and have legal peace.  This has been JavaSoft's clearly
defended turf.

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