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Killustrator Author Required to Pay Two Grand

sengan posted more than 12 years ago | from the update-on-ongoing-story dept.

KDE 490

This article on heise-online reveals some more information on the KIllustrator dispute. If my understanding of the German article is correct, the lawyer firm of Reinhard Skuhra Weise & Partner has issued a cease and desist letter to the University of Magdeburg, employer of KIllustrator's author, Dr Kai-Uwe Sattler. The cease-and-desist letter complains that kIllustrator's advertising damages Adobe's brand-name and damages the reputation of Adobe's product. The lawyers required that the University sign the cease and desist letter, destroy the kIllustrator-package, name every KIllustrator user, and disclose the profit they made from it. Finally the lawyers sent a bill for 4686 DM (German Marks, approximately 2000 dollars) not counting value added tax. Should the University not sign, the lawyers will sue for a million DM (approximately 400 thousand dollars) . Kai-Uwe Sattler is happy to change the name, but doesn't want to pay this bill. When he suggested changing the name, the lawyers rejected his proposal saying "Do you know any lawyer who works for nothing?" The lawyers insist on payment. Sattler regrets that Adobe never contacted him before calling upon lawyers to ask him to change the name of his software. Udo Skuhra, who works at the lawyers' firm, refused to talk to heise-online about the cease-and-desist letter, and refused to state whether Adobe asked his law-firm to issue it.Update: 07/04 03:30 PM by S :Joerg from Germany sent us a small correction: Apparently the lawyers want any packaging of KIllustrator destroyed, not the project itself. Perhaps they think it comes in a box?

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490 comments

Ambulance Chasing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#109759)

Does anyone know the German legal system to know if this is simply a shakedown or a serious matter? Do law firms regulary chase claims without consulting the property owners? A $4000 threat really seems pretty petty. Would any law firm bother? I would think any firm retained by Adobe would be a little more agressive in protecting the brand and a little less in getting a pittling $4000. Not that I agree with ripping another company's brand name.

Here's a tip (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#109760)

You know, I bet those smart german lawyers have never even heard of slashdot. So you're all wasting your time stamping your feet and snorting here.

Do you really want to help this guy? Ditching the acrobat reader isn't going to help him one bit. If you want to help him YOU MUST SEND HIM MONEY. Be high and mighty about your open source ideals, but when they bankrupt the poor guy and destroy him all you'll still be doing is using XPDF and thinking you made a difference.

Are you a lawyer? Take his case for free. Are you not a lawyer? Send him money to pay the lawyer bill. If you really want to impress upon the world the size of the open source movement, make this actually count.

RHell yes, we need feedback! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#109761)


I'm doing my part -- here [ciar.org].

I hope others in the audience will do their part as well.

-- Guges --

A lesson to OSS programers :get legal protection (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#109767)

After seeing too many of htese sotries, i would suggest that any independant programmer form a LLC (limited liability corporation) to be the legal representation of your work. This way, if you are sued, the LLC will be named in the suite and any dmages they manage to collect will be the comanyies, not your personal assets. REmember, lawyers are in it for the money and will work both sides of the fence.

Why Won't the Lawyer Disclose Adobe's Involvement (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#109768)

I find it curious that the lawyer would not disclose whether Adobe had asked them to pursue this matter.

There is a trend in the United States (for twenty years or longer) for lawyers to "create" cases (usually class action) which are generally greatly to their benefit and not much benefit to anyone else. The tobacco cases are not the best example, but along the same line. One example (without specifics) is the suit over (video)monitor sizes. A case went forward complaining that consumers were deceived by the size specs for monitors - a 14" monitor might only be 13.2" (both the spec and the actual size are diagonal measurements).

The case was won. I and many other consumers were offered something like a $9 coupon toward our next monitor purchase, or $7 cash (IIRC) back if we could prove that we bought a monitor (a variety of brands) within a specific time period. (This was at a time when a 14" color monitor was still a $300 item, IIRC.) (It's possible the offer to the consumer was somewhat higher, my memory is very hazy -- it was just not enough to make me pursue looking for proof of purchase or going out to buy a new monitor.)

Was anybody really harmed by the deceptive measurements? Was any consumer really not aware of what he was getting -- I mean, most people saw a working monitor before they bought one. I'm not saying the exaggeration of monitor size was proper, but who was hurt and who benefitted from the case? The lawyers manufactured a profit out of thin air. The manufacturers paid the lawyers, but made their money back if they stayed in business (and none of them went out of business because of this issue, AFAIK). And, if you go into Best Buy or Circuit City today and ask for a 19" monitor, guess what size it's going to be!

Anyway, I saw the fee the law firms collected -- don't really have any recollection of what it was, but it was big.

Law firms look for cases like this to keep their business' going!

Is there any chance this lawyer acted independently of Adobe? If I were the "defendant" in this case, I'd try to find out. If Adobe denies their involvement, I wouldn't pay the lawyer's fee, because I don't think they'd have legal standing to bring the action they did. (IANAL) It seems that Adobe should be willing to answer the question -- anybody want to take the time to put the question to them?

From Adobe's website: (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#109771)

Quote: [adobe.com]

Conduct business on the highest ethical basis

Life is too short to be ashamed of anything we do. Truth, honesty, and integrity in all of our dealings with other people allow us to always be proud of our association with Adobe.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAH!

Re:My girlfriend is going to be pissed.... (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#109772)

Would never work. My ex-girlfriend has prior art.

Re:Loss of innocence (2)

Roblimo (357) | more than 12 years ago | (#109774)

Well, if you're an American citizen, you are part-owner of one of Adobe's biggest customers: your government.

Ever notice how many government documents -- federal, state and local -- are in .pdf format, created with Adobe products?

You may want to politely tell your employees (AKA government workers and elected representatives) that you would appreciate it if they stopped using *your* money to support Adobe.

- Robin

Here's the solution (1)

defile (1059) | more than 12 years ago | (#109780)

  1. Form a Deleware corporation titled 'Abode Systems Inc.'
  2. Take The GIMP and rename it 'Abode Photo Workshop'
  3. Distribute far and wide
  4. When Adobe sues you, delay and reschedule the trial as much as possible, racking up legal fees for Adobe. If you really want to, show up in court (in Deleware, urhh) and try to argue your case. You'll probably lose, but it'll certainly take much longer.
  5. When you do lose, you obviously can't pay the $400,000 lawsuit, so Adobe gains ownership of your corporation, and a copy of a modified version of The Gimp

    No reason you can't use corporatism against them, and it only costs about $100 to make Adobe spend far far more.

    DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer. Don't actually do this unless you get a real lawyer's opinion.

Well, this certainly changed my perception.. (3)

defile (1059) | more than 12 years ago | (#109782)

Where I used to regard someone like Adobe with complete and utter apathy, I now regard them with hate.

There's a difference between protecting their brand and being insane. They turned a situation that could be solved effortlessly into a messy legal battle. Does anyone doubt that the developer would have just changed the name if Adobe had come along and said "Hey dude, cool stuff, but we're kind of peeved that it's named 'Illustrator', can ya change it? We spent gazillions of dollars promoting the name 'Illustrator' and we feel kind of taken.'"

Christ, this is enough to make me want to infringe on one of their brands just out of retaliation.

Hmm. Could they feel threatened by open source?IIRC, they used to even recommend the Gimp when users asked them to port Photoshop to Linux.

The hell?? (2)

Masem (1171) | more than 12 years ago | (#109785)

...name every KIllustrator user, and disclose the profit they made from it.

Meguesses some lawyer not understanding of this concept of "free (as in beer) software"...

Re:This IS infrigement (2)

Masem (1171) | more than 12 years ago | (#109786)

I look at how Sun has handled anyone releasing a "Java" product (case in point, Java Invaders). Yes, Sun has asked for a change of name, with good explainations why, and I've yet to hear of anyone that doesn't change it. But the initial request is typically just a C no monetary damage, only threat of further legal action if they don't change it. This includes both free and commercial software projects.

Adobe does have the right to go after Illustrator names, but asking for cash as well as the destruction of the source code, the list of users and the profits that have been made on it is beyond stupidity.

Any way I cud donate money ? (1)

antv (1425) | more than 12 years ago | (#109792)

Is there any fund (like the one in GAIM vs AOL case) where I could donate money ? Paypal account ? Adbe

Opinions are mine only and could change without notice.

I'd almost expect Adobe to sue the lawyers (2)

iabervon (1971) | more than 12 years ago | (#109793)

Pulling this kind of stunt makes Adobe look really bad. It may be acceptable by German law, but in most of Adobe's markets, they look anti-education and anti-individual. If US art schools see this and decide they don't want anything to do with Adobe, Adobe stands to lose much more than $1 million from the schools and students who would learn to use their products. So the logical thing for Adobe to do is pressure the lawyers into dropping the case, and maybe pay them for their efforts in getting Killustrator to change its name.

I'll Never use Adobe again. (1)

rwuest (2452) | more than 12 years ago | (#109796)

The way they are handling this shows a tacky, tasteless company. I will never buy, nor use, any adobe products again, as far as I have control of it. And I will discreetly recommend against them to all of my clients. If I succeed, that alone should cost them over $2000 in the next year. We have incredible influence over many buying decisions. If we all do the same, we should be able to make this cost them many many times that amount. (Just don't cut off your nose to spite your face).

Just because you don't like the law... (1)

isaac (2852) | more than 12 years ago | (#109798)

...doesn't mean you're exempt from it.

Frankly, Adobe's got a solid case, as others have pointed out. And while sending this sort of extortionary demand letter is a more common practice in Germany than the US, it could happen here too - there is due process, and it's called the court system. Adobe's counsel is just making their settlement offer up front - something they could do, IIRC, in the USA if they wanted.

If the professor thinks they have no case, he can go to trial. If he won't pay the settlement and won't show up at trial, Adobe wins by default and the professor will have a judgement assessed against him by the court.

Basic knowledge of trademark law, and a willingness to abide by it, would have saved this guy's bacon. Too late now, but let it be an object lesson to other developers out there.

Me, I'm leaving the tech industry to go to law school. Seriously.

-Isaac

Re:This IS infrigement (4)

Watts Martin (3616) | more than 12 years ago | (#109803)

While I agree in principle, I don't think I can agree that "Illustrator" is generic when it comes to naming software simply because it's a word that existed in the language already--and it seems to me that's ultimately the case you're making.

I'd submit that Illustrator isn't a "generic" description. Generic description would be "Adobe Vector Drawing Program"--or even "Adobe Draw," which, indeed, has precedents similar to the ones you cite: Mac Draw, Corel Draw, Lisa Draw, Cricket Draw (for those of you with long, long memories). But "Adobe Illustrator" seems to be in the category of names like "Canvas" (Deneba), "Freehand" (Macromedia) and "Expression" (MetaCreations, now reverted back to Creature House). All of those words were, and are, relatively common English words, too--but they don't refer to a class of computer graphics programs. They refer to specific computer graphics programs, all of which have been in production for a decade or longer.

While I don't condone Adobe's handling of this (or the approach of allowing lawyers to handle it this way for them, if that's what happened), this is not a case of a company just laying claim to a common word and trying to sue anyone who uses it. This is a case of a company, or their agents, seeing another program in the same field as theirs using a name which is deliberately similar to the name that refers specifically and only to their product in that field.

I guess I can see why adobe did this ... kind of (3)

Bwah (3970) | more than 12 years ago | (#109805)

If you don't issue any warning and come down on anybody who "infringes" like a ton of bricks, the number of repeat offenders is likely to be low.

I don't necessarily AGREE that this is anykind of infringement, but I can see how that might be their strategy.

Change the Name, but Do Nothing Else (2)

ewhac (5844) | more than 12 years ago | (#109809)

I'm about the fall into the classic Slashdot trap of offering armchair legal advice, but hey, everyone else is doing it.

Change the name of KIllustrator. While the name 'KIllustrator' may be defensible, it will be hideously costly to do so. Change it.

Other than that, I don't see the authors/University as obliged to do anything else. I hope German law isn't too different from US law in this respect. Absent a court judgment to the contrary, the legal fees incurred for drafting the threatening letter are Adobe's responsibility, not the victim's.

Under no circumstances should the author or University turn over a list of users (assuming such a thing exists). They have absolutely no call to make that demand.

Schwab

Re:Adobe Contact Info: (3)

einstein (10761) | more than 12 years ago | (#109841)

more contact info... remember, be nice.

Press/Analyst Contact Info.
Public Relations:
Kevin Burr
VP, Corporate Communications
408 536.3021
burr@adobe.com
---

Adobe Contact Info: (5)

einstein (10761) | more than 12 years ago | (#109842)

San Jose Corporate Headquarters
Adobe Systems Incorporated
Tel: 408-536-6000

and remember, be courteous, and follow the advocacy howto. be polite when you ask if they know what their lawyers are upto
---

Re:Comment on the German system from a German (2)

Hanno (11981) | more than 12 years ago | (#109849)

in Germany, you're not allowed to use unfair adverts; 'unfair' is considered anything comparative

You are (now) allowed to use comparative advertising. However, you must be able to back up your statements about the other product you compare your own product to.

So you cannot make a generic comment such as the American Coke/Pepsi ads, you have to be very specific when you use comparative claims.

------------------

I guess I'll use freehand, then. (2)

mr_burns (13129) | more than 12 years ago | (#109855)

Freehand 10 is native on OS X and Illustrator is not. Now I have a Reason to switch instead of wait. Bad move.

Re:This IS infrigement (4)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 12 years ago | (#109862)

What's more, though IANAL, a trademark owner has to defend his trademark if an infringement is brought to his attention--or else someone in a court case down the road can say "You knew about infringers XYZ and you didn't do anything about them; you don't have the right to do anything about me, either."

It's definitely too bad about the lawyers demanding $2K, as well as all those other insane concessions, but that's something they're going to have to work out between themselves. The fellow simply should have known better to begin with.

This should come as a major wake-up call to all the people who make packages with functions and names similar to trademarked programs--the KIllustrators and FreeMWares [slashdot.org] of the world: Don't mess with companies who have more money and more lawyers than you. You can complain all you want about how incredibly unfair it is, and deeply wrong, and boycott and send nasty letters all you want to, but at the end of the day, they'll win. And don't look to the Electronic Frontier Foundation or the ACLU to help defend you, either--your freedom of speech does not include the freedom to transgress others' property. DeCSS is somewhat defensible due to the ambiguous nature of the DCMA versus the public's right of fair use, but this is quite a different matter--there is no DeCSS-like legal ambiguity about trading on someone else's name to try to popularize your own product.

--

Re:K.Illustrator (2)

SnatMandu (15204) | more than 12 years ago | (#109870)

Well, since you're a person, and Adobe sells a software program, they'd have a harder time nailing you for infringing on their mark.

Yes, Illustrator is a common english word. But it also a widely recognized mark. When somone says "send me the illustrator files with the log art", everyone infers that they're talking about files created in Adobe Illustrator.

And if my spotty memory serves me well, adobe was the first to use the word Illustrator to describe a vector-based drawing program.

IANAL, but... (2)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 12 years ago | (#109871)

Two things strike me here. First, if the lawyers sending the letter are working for Adobe, it's Adobe's bill. The lawyers weren't hired by the person they're billing, that person isn't responsible for paying them. Second, only Adobe can take action about one of their trademarks. If the lawyers are representing Adobe, then aren't they required to indicate this on the legal paperwork? And if they haven't been retained by Adobe and aren't acting for it, then they've no legal basis for their cease-and-desist, right?

The whole thing smells somewhat of an extortion attempt.

Adobe boycott (2)

Raul Acevedo (15878) | more than 12 years ago | (#109873)

So the lawyers want $2,000?

If Dr. Sattler even remotely attempts a boycott of Adobe, in particular Illustrator, I'm sure it won't take very much to deny Adobe of $2,000 worth of revenue.

Two grand is nothing to Adobe. I can't imagine, if they really look at the situation in terms of PR, that it will be worth it to them, especially if Mr. Sattler takes this angle on it. I recognize this is coming from Adobe's law firm, but if Adobe central gets wind of what's going on, I'm sure the next cease and desist letter will come from Adobe to the law firm. :)

(This is all assuming he changes the name of KIllustrator.)
----------

This law firm is a bunch of ambulance chasers (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 12 years ago | (#109875)

If they have not been retained by Adobe, then what they are doing is the equivalent of ambulance chasing. In the USA that is illegal. I don't know about Germany, but if it is not illegal there, then there is something seriously wrong with the German legal system.

If they were not retained by Adobe, then this law firm needs to be put down now. Writing a letter does NOT cost 4686 DM, and any more than that was not necessary in the first round.

If they were retained by Adobe, then the focus shifts to Adobe. If Adobe refuses to deny being a part of it, then it's full boycott time.

While I don't agree that "Killustrator" is an infringement, it is close enough that I do believe it would be appropriate for the author to change the name and just avoid the issue ... had he been properly contacted about the matter. Writing a letter does NOT cost 4686 DM, and any more than that was not necessary in the first round. So whoever is responsible, it is all wrong. And if neither is willing to deny it is their decision, then they are both culprits in blowing a very simple matter way way out of proportion (and our response needs to be equally out of proportion against them).

Re:This IS infrigement (1)

Dunedain (16942) | more than 12 years ago | (#109880)

And, in fact, this isn't trademark infringement. Adobe's nuked their own chances of enforcing the trademark on "Adobe Illustrator" years ago. One of the requirements for a Trademark is that it be a brand name. For example, SPAM is a trademark of Hormel Foods. Thus, any reference to SPAM(tm) brand spiced meat uses their trademark. If the mark is frequently used as a noun (e.g. references to SPAM), that dilutes the mark.

So my understanding of this is that by frequent references to "purchase Adobe Illustrator today!" Adobe already lost this fight.

I'm not a lawyer... yet.

BOYCOTT! (2)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 12 years ago | (#109883)

Boycotts by small numbers of people (ie Free Software geeks) against large corporations are rarely successful (those who disagree are encouraged to send me press releases from Disney where they said they won't give health insurance to gays). However, in this case, we might be able to help this guy out. I think we can take away at least $2000 in sales away from Adobe.

Here's what I suggest. If you were considering purchasing Adobe products for yourself or the organization you work for, delay the purchase. If you work for understanding bosses, explain the situation to them. If you work directly with Adobe representatives (sales, support, whatever), let them know about your decision. Write an email (NO FLAMES - NO UNPROFESSIONAL LANGUAGE - NO THREATS - NO LIES) to Adobe's PR flacks, CEO, head of sales, legal team, etc*. Let them know that you are disappointed in the behavior of their attorneys and you have elected to show your disapproval by delaying purchases of their software indefinitely. Let them know what actions on their part will be necessary before you will resume consideration of their software for purchase. Note that you are not threatening them; you are explaining what has already occurred and what you would like to see occur.

Some possible happy outcomes might include:
- The lawyers representing Adobe to Dr. Kai-Uwe Sattler withdraw their demands for payment from him.
- The lawyers representing Adobe to Dr. Kai-Uwe Sattler apologize for their own actions (not necessarily on behalf of Adobe).
- An executive of Adobe apologizes to Dr. Kai-Uwe Sattler for harassing him (If you give someone a letter of marque and reprisal, you are responsible for their actions.)
- A representative of Adobe meets with Dr. Kai-Uwe Sattler to discuss their grievances.
- Adobe sends a nice letter to Dr. Kai-Uwe Sattler permitting him to use the name KIllustrator.
- Adobe ports all or any (your choice) of their products to Linux.

I think it's important to note (especially since most of us are not lawyers) that Adobe's claim may have merit. The name KIllustrator may infringe on Adobe's trademark. I don't think Adobe should necessarily have to give up the rights it has and is guaranteed by law. Feel free to disagree. Threatening and harassing an honest man, however, is simply wrong.

*Figure out the email addresses yourself; if you aren't willing to put forth some effort, you're useless.

Re:This IS infrigement (3)

Arandir (19206) | more than 12 years ago | (#109887)

You don't see people cleaning the window with "Kwindex" or wiping their noses with "Gnokleenex" do you?

That's because Windex and Kleenex are artificial words created specifically to be used as trademarks. "Illustrator" is an ordinary English word. There's a big difference.

If "illustrator", the word, is indeed trademarked by Adobe for vector drawing software, then Killustrator will have to go. But "illustrator" is a stupid trademark nonetheless. That's like trademarking "window cleaner" or "tissue paper" instead of Windex and Kleenex.

Re:Adobe lawyers asking uni to pay for services? (1)

kubrick (27291) | more than 12 years ago | (#109892)

The lawyers, representing adobe, want to bill the uni for their services?

I'd tell em to get fucked and go and bill their corporate master, who presumably authorised their work.


Exactly. Sure, Adobe can force him to change the name, but since they are the ones employing this firm of lawyers, they can pay them. Otherwise it becomes a form of demanding money with menaces, more commonly the tactic of the Mafia and people like that...

"That's a nice.... software program you have there. Wouldn't want anything to... happen to it now, would we?" said the lawyer, as he typed 'rm -r *.c*', his finger hovering over the Enter key."

Re:Loser Corporations (2)

uncleFester (29998) | more than 12 years ago | (#109895)

I second this. I'm gonna do my best to completely chuck all adobe crap.. including acrobat. XPDF will cover me on the *nix side... what are my Win32 alternatives?

(please.. no bs.. it's there for a few good reasons.. none of which I can think of this very minute... oh yeah, quakeIII).

Comment on the German system from a German (5)

at-b (31918) | more than 12 years ago | (#109898)

Hey

In Germany, we have what is called an 'Abmahnung'. This is basically a 'Warning', and can be issued by pretty much anyone who operates a law office of any kind. This 'Abmahnung' is part of the German law system; if you spot any kind of infringement on copyright / trademark or even trade law, you can issue a warning to the infringing party, and send them a bill for your costs. This is extremely common, and a whole law industry subsides on it. Usually, the infringement warnings can be quite justified, but sometimes people get overzealous in their quest for cash.

An example is if you use what's called 'improper' advertisements - in Germany, you're not allowed to use unfair adverts; 'unfair' is considered anything comparative, e.g. you're not allowed to say 'Our car has a higher top speed, better acceleration, and a lower price than the BMW 325i, the Volvo S60, and the Mercedes 230.' If you did, you'd get an 'Abmahnung', even if BMW, Volvo, and DaimlerChrysler didn't sue immediately.

So yeah, it's a sucky system. German society is very free and open in most respects (what'd be considered porn (tits, penises, etc) can be seen on normal network TV and nude beaches are very common, but the BUSINESS system and laws are stuck in the middle ages, biased heavily towards big business. (a bit like Japan, to be honest)

Sorry if this veered off towards explaining German business practices and society too much, but it's important to understand what's going on. Somebody's spotted a trademark infringement and pounced on it. And make no mistake about it: if the guy sues, he'll lose. Hell, so would I if I made a spreadsheet app called KExcel and distributed it, often as part of for-pay packages. (like Linux distros) To 'excel' is a simple word, and can't be trademarked, but in respect to spreadsheets, it can be protected. Brand dilution. It sucks, but that's how it works.

Alex T-B
St Andrews

Lawyers... (1)

chill (34294) | more than 12 years ago | (#109899)

Interesting concept -- destroy the entire package and name every user. It brings the definition of "clueless" to a whole new level.

It is the comment about "do you know any lawyers that work for free?" that tells the story.

--
Charles E. Hill

Adobe lawyers asking uni to pay for services? (2)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 12 years ago | (#109906)

WTF?

The lawyers, representing adobe, want to bill the uni for their services?

I'd tell em to get fucked and go and bill their corporate master, who presumably authorised their work.

Otherwise it'd be like...

"Ring" "Ring"

Me : "Hello?"

Them :"Hi we're from biglawyerfirm, and we're going to sue you for infringing trademark, but it'll cost you $2500 for us to draw up the paperwork to do so."

Me: "What!?! $2500! For you to harass me!? No!"

Them: "Er, ok, don't worry about it then, sorry to have bothered you"

Or am I missing something here, and this is just normal (albeit pretty fucked up) legal practice?


** Windows has detected a mouse movement.

People, THINK for a minute! (3)

Tofuhead (40727) | more than 12 years ago | (#109911)

Adobe is in the right here! It's called KIllustrator, for God's sake! Any impressionable kid could take that to be a contraction of Kill-You Castrator.

Bravo bravissimo [iinet.net.au], Adobe. Thanks for Thinking About The Children (TM).

< tofuhead >
--

Re:Impossible Demands (1)

Owen Lynn (46218) | more than 12 years ago | (#109916)

From what little I've seen of legal conflicts, each side tends to ask for way more than they are allowed to get. I guess they do it on the theory that if you don't ask you never get.

Much of what constitutes lawyering is actually haggling and negotiation.

And as far as not doing their research, not all lawyers are steely eyed competents. The slack is strong with all of us.

Phil Greenspun once said something to the effect that a good ivy league student probably does more research and thinking than the average lawyer.

Ineteresting that it happened in Germany and not here. This could be a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. In any case, I wouldn't pay the lawyers any money, or if you do, make them earn every penny of it.

Might want to contact the EFF.

damage to reputation (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 12 years ago | (#109919)

The cease-and-desist letter complains that kIllustrator's advertising damages Adobe's brand-name and damages the reputation of Adobe's product.

So instead they decided to damage their reputation by engaging in mindless, heavy-handed, groundless legal harassment? Brilliant.

Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

Or just maybe, (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 12 years ago | (#109921)

no-one used the term "Illustrator" before Adobe and the KIllustrator project should actually come up with a unqiue name for their clone.

Re:This IS infrigement (2)

romco (61131) | more than 12 years ago | (#109930)

"You don't see people cleaning the window with "Kwindex" or wiping their noses with "Gnokleenex" do you? "

You are comparing apples and oranges here, Windex
and Kleenex are not common words, they are trademarks.

Illustrator is a common word.

Loser Corporations (1)

ScumBiker (64143) | more than 12 years ago | (#109936)

I've been a pretty loyal Adobe product user for years now. Photoshop and Illustrator are two of the main apps I use all the time. These tactics really make me want to puke. Does anybody know how much Killustrator costs to buy? Does "ZERO" come to mind? How the hell is this software (which is pretty decent, BTW) hurting Adobe, in any way, shape or form? Is there a version of Adobe Illustrator that runs on Linux? One of the main reasons I'm still running that M$ shit is because of this. Yes, I know I could run out and buy a Mac w/ OS X on it. Do you have an extra $3500 laying around?

I hereby declare a complete boycott of all Adobe products. Looks like I'll be getting more familiar with The Gimp after all.

Fuck You, Adobe. You where probably put up to this by that fag, Ballmer. Rot in hell.



Dive Gear [divingdeals.com]

Re:Here's a tip (1)

kb5vya (84272) | more than 12 years ago | (#109956)

Good point. But also tell Adobe what you think of their actions against Dr. Sattler and Univ. Magdeburg. If enough people tell them, they will listen because they think they will make money by looking concerned.

Damaging Adobe's name? (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 12 years ago | (#109962)

You mean kind of like attacking a guy who writes software in his free time and gives it away for free engenders goodwill?

Who's next, Adobe? Ghostscript?

Surreal? (1)

JJC (96049) | more than 12 years ago | (#109973)

Somebody takes legal action against you and you have to pay the lawyer? WTF?

Re:This IS infrigement (1)

JJC (96049) | more than 12 years ago | (#109974)

Adobe owns the Illustrator name. It's not "Adobe Illustrator", it's "Illustrator".

Actually, I read on the koffice-devel mailing list that they only own Adobe Illustrator but are claiming that the names are confusingly similar. I can't find the message now, but I'm 99% sure it was from the guy who's in the legal trouble.

internal memo: Adobe (2)

RestiffBard (110729) | more than 12 years ago | (#110010)

to all concerned:
apparently we just pissed off a few million Open Source users and developers. Expect to be belittled repeatedly much in the same way MS is.

To The CEO: Do you want your borg apparatus on the left or right side of your head whenever /. posts a story about our products and activities?

Impossible Demands (5)

MrGrendel (119863) | more than 12 years ago | (#110015)

The lawyers required that the University sign the cease and desist letter, destroy the kIllustrator-package, name every KIllustrator user, and disclose the profit they made from it.

These guys didn't do their homework, did they?

This IS infrigement (4)

talonyx (125221) | more than 12 years ago | (#110017)

Everybody's going to jump on board with the Linux side of things here, but let's look at the facts.

Adobe owns the Illustrator name. It's not "Adobe Illustrator", it's "Illustrator". It's been around for ages and while not the best product in my eyes it certainly is better at this point that the K-version.

Regardless of platforms or competing or profits, Adobe owns the name. It's not a matter of "huzzah huzzah intellectual property" or anything. Names have been trademarked and defended for years. You don't see people cleaning the window with "Kwindex" or wiping their noses with "Gnokleenex" do you? NO!, because the base name is owned by a company.

As for the lawyers demanding to be paid, they should go fuck themselves. If the author's willing to change the name, he has already made the correct choice. Now, the lawyers have to do the right thing in turn and just leave it be.

Obviously they won't. Somebody go set up a Paypal account or something, maybe the author could do that, and we could contribute a buck each if neccessary.

*cough*bullshit*cough* (3)

legLess (127550) | more than 12 years ago | (#110019)

Quoth the poster:
...a program that cannot run on the same platform as another is clearly not a rival...
I was going to go on a rant and list several reasons why you're wrong here, but there are only two that really matter.
  1. Reality. MacOS X will run both Illustrator and KIllustrator. So even by your logic, yes they are direct competitors.*
  2. Philosophy. Even if they didn't run at all on the same platform, your attitude is precisely what Free software is trying to dethrone - that your choice of operating system or platform is limiting rather than empowering. If App Q isn't available for your platform, bug the developers, learn another OS, look for a substitute, etc. The bottom line is that if learning a new skill is all that stands between you and a task, you've got no reason to whine.
What Adobe did was right and proper. It sucks that this poor schmuck is getting nailed, but if he'd had half a brain he would have expected it. The best post [slashdot.org] from the last article said, in part,
"Whether or not you "believe" in Intellectual property has no bearing on whether it exists, and if it is legally binding.

Fighting the system through simple noncompliance is not the answer, talk to your govt reps, and demand action. If nobody complains, then nothing changes. The whole point of democracy is that you stand up and be heard, not just bitch and moan cuz you're not in charge."

Amen.

*Granted, there are some technical troubles between Apple and Adobe, but you can bet those will be ironed out - Apple users are very important for Adobe. You could also say that the people using Illustrator are unlikely to have the technical chops to get KIllustrator running under X. First, that's only an education problem, and doesn't help your argument. Second, you can bet that better installers are coming for all of user-land Free software).

"We all say so, so it must be true!"

Loss of innocence (1)

ActiveSex (127999) | more than 12 years ago | (#110022)

I'm really losing respect for Adobe. As a frequent user of their products, I'd become accustomed to their much-cultivated image of good people. All of their printed materials convey a feeling of good will because they teach you how to use the software so damn well, and then they pull shit like this?? It's a good thing I'm also a fan of CorelDRAW.

"That explains the milk in the coconuts."

KDrawingNStuff (1)

ryanw (131814) | more than 12 years ago | (#110025)

Here are some better names:

KDrawingNStuff
Killustration
Killustrating
Killustrate

Legal terrorism (1)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 12 years ago | (#110039)

Israel doesn't negotiate with terrorists, and they have some darn good reasons.

Why should we?

Negotiate with terrorists, and you encourage terrorism.

Ordering someone to pay $2000 for naming a FREE (in both senses of the word, cost and liberty) software project, in a way that some company disapproves, with one's own funds is terrorism.

Just that in this case it uses lawyers rather than bombs.

(Spare me any arguments that Adobe could be in the right about their trademark, there is no need to immediately demand money, rather than doing a cease and desist letter. Give a warning before going for the kill.)

For real (2)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 12 years ago | (#110041)

There are a lot of laws in the US which state that if you are a defendent and lose that you have to pay for the court the hung you and the lawyers that manuvered the court to hang you.

They hang you and order you to pay for the rope to do it with.

You may be ordered to pay all of the following:
Profits
Losses of the other party (they do throw you a bone in that no one thing can be assessed against you twice by both of the above, e.g. I do something that the court feels takes X dollars from you and gives it to me, I only have to pay X, and not 2X.)
Punitive damages (punishment)
Court costs
The other side's lawyers

Oh, and you (almost always) have to pay your own lawyers even though you LOST. Usually only plaintiffs can hire lawyers on contingency.

Reminds me of the Communist countries which bill the family of an execution victim the cost of the bullet.

Sure adds insult to injury.

And I do believe the paying for an attack against you is mandated or orderable in countries other than the "land of the free".

(Disclaimer: I am a human being, not a lawyer).

This is SOP. (2)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 12 years ago | (#110044)

It is SOP of many companies. This is more true when there is a questionable or non-violation. They will blow more smoke, try to intimidate more than when there is a valid claim. They do this to scare others -- look at the MPAA and the RIAA.

"Do you know any lawyer that works for free?" (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 12 years ago | (#110046)

There's the problem right there. The lawyers aren't in it for the good of the company, or even the laws. They are totally in it for the money. A reasonable solution was offered, but because the lawyers are greedy bastards its probably going to become one of many other suits jamming taking up court time unnecessarily.

Re:Rogue Lawyers? (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 12 years ago | (#110047)

How could Adobe not know it was going on. That's rather hard to believe. I'm sure they've been getting hate mail up the arse on this one.

IS ADOBE behind this or some lawyers (1)

pantherace (165052) | more than 12 years ago | (#110060)

This seems like very stupid tactics, if Adobe is doing this. I am not so sure that it is Adobe. German law allows (for lack of a better term) IP bounty hunters, who can have no relation to the owner of the trademark. (Or at least that is what I have heard) So this may be independant lawyers out to make money. I personally am emailing Adobe about this.

I take back what I said (1)

SnapperHead (178050) | more than 12 years ago | (#110072)

ok, like the subject says, I take back what I said the other day about adobe being right. There taking things way to fucking far. This really upsets me.


Change the name, carry on ...

... until the fucking blood sucking laywers get invoild. Adobe should have sent a cease-and-desist uging them to change the name before they take things futher. You know what would have happened ? The name would have changed, and everyone would have been happy, end of story.

I don't know about everyone else, but I am gonna start emailing adobe 4 times a day telling them what I think of there company and why I will not buy there products until they cut the crap. I don't think this is flying off the handle or anything. Its help out the K guys.


until (succeed) try { again(); }

Author, which author? (3)

_ganja_ (179968) | more than 12 years ago | (#110077)

Why Dr. Kai-Uwe and not one of the other authors? There are many people involved with this project and although he is a leading light in the project he is not solely responcible. Put it this way: it takes a lot of people to built a Ford car, if its not built correctly and it drives its self in to a tree, killing your cat in the process, who do you sue? It certainly ain't the guy in the factory who made a mistake when he put the wheels on.

Of course I'm sure there is a counter example that carries the same amount of common sense as too why Dr. Kai-Uwe should be the target?

Something else more worrying, the article states they sued his employeer and not Dr. Kai-Uwe directly could this possible prompt employers to start having new emloyees sign agreements that they are not to work on Open source projects etc? Another bit of common sense, if I go and steal a car it's not my employeer that gets arrested, it's me, where does this logic come from in trademark law? I though law for the most part was meant to follow common sense.

Ah, bugger this thing smell a little anyway and I seriously wonder if the law firm hasn't just seen a chance to make an easy buck (unlikely I know but it's lawyers we're talking about), if so I don't think it's going to be so easy.

As for new name sugestions I quite like Kartist.

Say what? (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 12 years ago | (#110085)

Oh yeah I forgot this is not taking place in the US is it. I guess in Germany they don't have to follow any due process? In anycase hopefully someone has the latest source code so the current state is saved? Then the stuff can get renamed, put on a server elsewhere, the US(at least lawyers have to follow some due process here, say what you will), want Mine? I could probably let you use it for the time being?

Re:The hell?? (1)

schwap (191462) | more than 12 years ago | (#110096)

Yes, all of us who have used it, or have a copy, should add ourselves to the list and tell them how much we paid for it. We'll give them a generous 50% of the total.

Boycott! (1)

ZeroVerteX (196791) | more than 12 years ago | (#110104)

Wonder where I can get a free PDF reader for Windows on my machine at work that isn't an Adobe product?

Very Well... (1)

kikta (200092) | more than 12 years ago | (#110112)

No problem! Lemme see here...

Ok, here's my signature. Here's a CD-ROM with the only copy we have, honest! All users, lets see... how about every Open Source Fan that Adobe just lost as a customer? That should cover it. And profit? We, uh... only made twenty bucks. I swear. Here it is!

*cough* Suckers! *cough*

Rogue Lawyers? (2)

Danious (202113) | more than 12 years ago | (#110116)

Anyone else get the feeling these are rouge IP lawyers acting without prior approval from Adobe, nor with any clue as to what Open-Source/Free Software is???

I'd say these are IP lawyers that Adobe licensed to enforce their IP in Germany. The lawyers use it as a cash-cow, going around extorting money from any hapless programmer who gets too close. I'd guess not a cent makes it's way back to Adobe. I bet Adobe doesn't even know this is happening.

The worst part is demanding the destruction of KIllustrator, talk about stomping over other peoples IP rights! I was in favour of paying the fine, changing the name, and moving on, but not now. We shouldn't be forced to destroy Killi (R), we need to fight this.

So, how can we politely contact someone important at Adobe and get them to make the lawyers see sense? A case for Bruce Perens, perhaps, to put on his HP hat and go door-knocking?

Failing that, we're going to need a fighting fund. I'm good for a $100.

Re:Rogue Lawyers? (2)

Danious (202113) | more than 12 years ago | (#110117)

Confirmed. Just read their web-site:

"RSW is an internationally engaged firm that works with competant partners worldwide to obtain and enforce intellectual property rights."

"Having built its foundations upon a reputation synonymous with an engaging, individualised style of consultation, competitive fees and prompt and exact execution, the firm ... has been able to enjoy many years of continuous growth."

So, a firm of sharks whose sole purpose is to build a portfolio of rights, then earn a living off cease and desist letters.

My advice to the good Doctor is to demand the sharks provide confirmation from Adobe head office in the US that they agree to the action taken on their behalf.

The announcement rewritten so Adobe doesn't sue /. (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 12 years ago | (#110120)

"This article on heise-online reveals some more information on the K-Illustrator(TM) dispute. If my understanding of the German article is correct, the lawyer firm of Reinhard Skuhra Weise & Partner has issued a cease and desist letter to the University of Magdeburg, employer of K-Illustrator(TM)'s author, Dr Kai-Uwe Sattler. The cease-and-desist letter complains that k-Illustrator(TM)'s advertising damages Adobe(R)'s brand-name and damages the reputation of Adobe(R)'s product. The lawyers required that the University sign the cease and desist letter, destroy the k-Illustrator(TM)-package, name every K-Illustrator(TM) user, and disclose the profit they made from it. Finally the lawyers sent a bill for 4686 DM (German Marks, approximately 2000 dollars) not counting value added tax. Should the University not sign, the lawyers will sue for a million DM (approximately 400 thousand dollars) . Kai-Uwe Sattler is happy to change the name, but doesn't want to pay this bill. When he suggested changing the name, the lawyers rejected his proposal saying "Do you know any lawyer who works for nothing?" The lawyers insist on payment. Sattler regrets that Adobe(R) never contacted him before calling upon lawyers to ask him to change the name of his software. Udo Skuhra, who works at the lawyers' firm, refused to talk to heise-online about the cease-and-desist letter, and refused to state whether Adobe(R) asked his law-firm to issue it."

Much worse than the demand for $2K... (2)

phr1 (211689) | more than 12 years ago | (#110123)

is the part about destroying the package and identifying the users. It would be good if someone could post the actual demand letter. Renaming the program is one thing, but they want the package to totally stop existing and they want to be able to go after individual users?! That's worth going to court over.

Re:Say what? (1)

hearingaid (216439) | more than 12 years ago | (#110127)

Due process is an American legal concept. Nevertheless, citizens of other countries do have legal rights. German citizens, in fact, have constitutional rights.

I suggest a floating server in the ocean. Hah. International law has not yet recognized the Berne Convention as binding on the seas.

My girlfriend is going to be pissed.... (5)

tsmit (222375) | more than 12 years ago | (#110136)

If she had known you could get money for name infringement, she would've gone after the developers of BitchX a long time ago.

Not a rival??! (2)

srichman (231122) | more than 12 years ago | (#110144)

...lawyers are lawyers, and what they don't know about technology issues (like enough to know that a program that cannot run on the same platform as another is clearly not a rival...) they make up in determination and legal maneuvering.

Well, obviously I don't know much about technology issues either then, because I don't see how the platform disparity magically makes KIllustrator a non-competitor.

If I'm a graphic designer, then I want to avail myself of a set of tools that helps me get my job done. If someone tells me there are programs called KIllustrator and the GIMP that work as well as their Adobe equivalents and cost considerably less, then I will no doubt be strongly tempted to quit shelling out hundreds of dollars to Adobe. Sounds to me like KIllustrator constitutes competition, and threatening competition at that.

The argument that the platform difference allays the competition is particularly weak in the instance of graphic design software. Some people have the preconception that graphic designers and artists are "Mac people," but in my experience they are more interested in the tools that best help them get the job done. In modern graphic design, file format compatability makes platforms largely irrelevant (aside from OS learning curves). There are many other business spaces and user types in which platform differences are much more significant (e.g., software engineering; Microsoft wouldn't perceive some Unix IDE as a competitor to Visual Studio).

Am I Surprised? (1)

xtermz (234073) | more than 12 years ago | (#110147)

Am I surprised? No. I think i'll be more surprised if the major media outlets actually take notice of this obvious case of David vs. Goliath (and goliath wins...).
It appears the day I've always feared has arrived. Big corporations steamroll over anybody who dares stand in their way, just like a protester in Tianemen (sp?) square. Does anybody notice? No. Maybe a couple thousand of us who bother to read the alternative ,'extreme right wing wacko' as the media puts it, news sources. But compare us to the 200+ million people in our country, and the billions in the world. Are out voices heard over the noise that is 'mainstream'? Not any more... its over folks..

"Pussy: You spend 9 months trying to get out of it, and the rest of your life trying to get back in..."

This certainly casts a different light on things (5)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 12 years ago | (#110152)

Sattler regrets that Adobe never contacted him before calling upon lawyers to ask him to change the name of his software. Udo Skuhra, who works at the lawyers' firm, refused to talk to heise-online about the cease-and-desist letter, and refused to state whether Adobe asked his law-firm to issue it.
Many large companies employ lawyers to work independently to protect what they believe to be their intellectual property, with the lawyers basically being self-funding.

I wonder if this is what's happened here? If so, I have to tone down my criticism of Adobe in the previous Slashdot about this issue because, well, lawyers are lawyers, and what they don't know about technology issues (like enough to know that a program that cannot run on the same platform as another is clearly not a rival, and moreso, that a client might just have chosen a generic name for their product that could reasonably be said to apply to all the products aimed at the same application) they make up in determination and legal maneuvering.

That's not to say it's good that it's happened: Absolutely it is not. Nor is it to say that Adobe are blameless - in my view, they need to keep a leash on groups that operate in their name. But it does at least explain why Adobe have engaged in an activity so likely to alienate potential customers as apparent high-handed corporate bullying of a clear underdog.
--

Re:This IS infrigement (5)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 12 years ago | (#110153)

They don't "own" the name, they've trademarked it, and that trademark, in the view of many of us (myself included) is not legitimate, because it is a generic word that can legitimately describe any application that performs the same function as the Adobe product.

We're treading on dangerous ground when we let trademark law obliterate the English language. In general, when the generic has been used to name a product, trademarks have been kept out of the picture because nobody wants to go down that road. That's why Lisa Paint, MacPaint, PC Paintbrush, Deluxe Paint, Windows Paint, and Paintshop Pro can all share the same moniker. That's why General Motors and the Ford Motor Company aren't sueing one another.

Comparing Illustrator to Kleenex or Windex seems to be missing the point. Kleenex is not a generic description of tissue paper. If Kleenex had to call their product "Tissues", and trademarked it, there'd have been a storm of protest if they'd tried to enforce those trademarked. Likewise Windex isn't called "Glass Cleaner", and if it had been, Windex would never have been able to defend it without substantial opposition.

IANAL, I can't comment on whether generic descriptions being trademarked is a special legal case or not, but I know that morally the position is indefensable. You cannot, and should never, take a generic description for something, something that someone would slip into a conversation to refer to something generically which would mean anyone clued up would understand what they're refering to without necessarily associating it with a particular brand, and say "This word is mine now, because I've registered it, so anyone who uses it is going to be sued if they're not refering to what I want them to be refering to." That's absolutely outrageous. And if the law allows it, and I hope it doesn't, it should be changed.
--

Re:K.Illustrator (1)

methodic (253493) | more than 12 years ago | (#110169)

So what gives them the right to shit on a developer that codes in his free time and gives a great product for free? If it wasnt for competition, we wouldnt advance at all (ie AMD vs. Intel -- once the gig processor came out, Intel "all of a sudden" discovered how to do it too).

---------------

Re:Impossible Demands (1)

methodic (253493) | more than 12 years ago | (#110170)

Yeah, no shit. They obviously have _no idea_ what KIllustrator is all about..

1) Destroy killustrator? HA. Let them _try_ to destroy every copy of Killustrator ever made.

2) Name every KIllustrator user? First of all, fuck that. They have no legal bounds to get names of people using a product. Thats horse shit. Not to mention... *IMPOSSIBLE*.

3) This question should be the easiest.. $0.00 in _any_ currency (EU, USD, peso's, ruples, etc..)

---------------

Mod The Parent UP (1)

Tangfan (254054) | more than 12 years ago | (#110171)

Makes sense (not the law, your explanation). I had basically figured this was an independent firm, but this simply makes the rest fall in place. I don't know if you know (unless you're a lawyer, I doubt you will), but could he simply change the name, offer to pay a reasonable bill (IE the post above this one) and that would be it? Or can Adobe intercede and leash the lawyers? :-) Of course, maybe they'll view that as being wimpy, but it's better than 200,000 angry Slashdotters. /Tangfan

Re:People, THINK for a minute! (1)

Demerara (256642) | more than 12 years ago | (#110172)

Adobe is in the right here!

NO NO NO NO.

Adobe have sent in the lawyers who are acting with ham-fisted insensitivity.

This behaviour is callous and typically corporate and is morally wrong.

Wow, this rush of righteous indignation is amazing. Anyone got Jesse Helm's email address??

Re:internal memo: Adobe (2)

Demerara (256642) | more than 12 years ago | (#110173)

Expect to be belittled repeatedly much in the same way MS is

Not belittled, BOYCOTTED. C'mon /. - crusade against this kind of shite from Adobe. I'm off to their website and will email them to the effect that I'll never buy their products if they cannot do the KIllustrator developer the COURTESY of a polite request prior to sending in the scum sucking bottom feeders.

Damn right, they've pissed me off.

Disgust can lead to action (1)

OwnStile (261614) | more than 12 years ago | (#110177)

I've used Illustrator before, but will never again. I'm also going to start looking for better digital ink solutions other than Acrobat.

Companies need to learn that poor actions lead to poor sales...

K.Illustrator (1)

blkros (304521) | more than 12 years ago | (#110183)

My names Keith...I'm an illustrator. Is The combination Keith *******, Illustrator a trademark infringement?
Some people really have nothing better to do with their lives...do they.

Leave it to the freaking lawyers (1)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 12 years ago | (#110186)

Sheesh, leave it to the freaking lawyers to complicate matters.

Isn't that just SO like a lawyer, to want to get paid for his work, i mean sheesh, what arrogance.

But seriously, you think Adobe would pitch in the 2k to get the lawyer to shut up and everyone would be happy.

Lawers web site. (1)

AX.25 (310140) | more than 12 years ago | (#110188)

Running Apache on Linux. Web site was designed in (you guessed it) Adobe Go Live. Stupid lawyers, bad bad bad.

Re:Rogue Lawyers? (1)

EulerX07 (314098) | more than 12 years ago | (#110193)

Let's mod this up. Clearly Adobe just sold the right to this lawyer firm to enforce their IP in that country. Most of the post are evil-izing Adobe but clearly the greater force of evil here is the independant lawyers. The only thing Adobe could(should?) do is pull on the leash of their hell-hounds to let the poor guy get off easy.

Man, stories like this is the kind of thing that make people hate lawyers.

German law is different in this regard (4)

janpod66 (323734) | more than 12 years ago | (#110197)

If I recall correctly, German law differs substantially from US law in this regard. Someone should check.

As I recall, in Germany, law firms can independently police certain laws and write "cease and desist letters"; Adobe need not have been involved in this. I believe they can also charge the recipient of those letters for their work.

However, it seems that 4684DM far exceeds their expenses. The law firm seems to use the threat of sueing to achieve compliance in order to recover excessive legal fees for themselves. If I were Sattler, I would write a letter stating that I disagree with their interpretation of trademark law and admit no wrongdoing, but that I am changing the name immediately to avoid further legal harrassment by their lawyers. Then I would separately ask the law firm for an itemized bill for their labor (that's what the money is for, so one can expect a bill). I'd check the work and rates with another lawyer or a consumer agency and pay only what's fair and reasonable (I suspect no more than 100-200DM).

I think if this went to court, the law firm would have a hard time recovering more than reasonable costs for writing the letter. I think any case about the trademark would also be hard to make: "killustrator" is a non-trivial variation on a generic term, it doesn't seem "confusingly similar" to "Adobe Illustrator", and furthermore "killustrator" is not a product that is for sale and therefore may not even infringe. Again, talking to a lawyer should help here, since trademarks like "Adobe Illustrator" may be protected differently in Germany.

Jumping too quickly (1)

CoachS (324092) | more than 12 years ago | (#110198)

It is really a shame that Adobe moved so quickly to legal action. One gets the impression that if they'd simply contacted this fellow directly they could have resolved the matter before $2,000 in legal bills had been rung up.

I empathize with the attorneys and understand that they do need to get paid for their time. I lay the blame for this at Adobe's feet, however, for calling in a surgeon before simply rinsing the wound and applying a band-aid.

Lesson: Try communicating with the offending party directly before calling in the expensive legal help.

-Coach-

boycott adobe (1)

c8to (442188) | more than 12 years ago | (#110206)

boycott adobe until this nonsense is dropped. in a time where rampant corporations wield power over individuals consumer choice is a powerful weapon.

Trigger Happy Adobe (1)

spooon (447071) | more than 12 years ago | (#110214)

I'm starting to loose a lot of respect for Adobe. Last year, they sued Macromedia because Flash 5 had a "tabbed panel interface" that Adobe claims they made first. They wanted Macromedia to pay fines and stop the release of Flash 5. I'm supprised that Apple, or Xerox for that matter, doesn't sue for the invention of the graphical user interface. All of these companies now are naming their products with common words. I could make a lot of money if I started a company, developed a program called "Programmer" and sued everyone who used that word.

Ghostscript? (1)

Jennifer E. Elaan (463827) | more than 12 years ago | (#110235)

I thought I heard that Ghostscript had a PDF interpreter recently (PDF and PS are related formats, they're quite similar I recall).

And I _KNOW_ that there's a windows version of it, although it's a bit tricky to install. I had to use it once because, well, standard windows doesn't have a thing that reads postscript files.

-- Blore's Razor:

Adobe brandnames (1)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 12 years ago | (#110238)

So, let me get this straight...

An individual developing a piece of software in his free time for free distribution is encroaching on Adobe's naming system, but Jasc [jasc.com] can sell a piece of software with the words paint! and shop! in the name for a profit!, and no one at adobe cares?


-Chris Canter


Value *added*? (1)

shoppa (464619) | more than 12 years ago | (#110241)

Finally the lawyers sent a bill for 4686 DM (German Marks, approximately 2000 dollars) not counting value added tax
Lawyers actually believe they add *value* by sending a threatening letter?
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