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Cover image for Did you know that Oracle owns the trademark to Javascript?

Did you know that Oracle owns the trademark to Javascript?

theoutlander profile image Nick Karnik ・1 min read

I have used Javascript for over 20 years, but I was unaware that Oracle owned the trademark to Javascript. If anything, I would have guessed that Mozilla owned it.

Oracle inherited the trademark after they bought Sun Microsystems (I didn't even know Sun had trademarked Javascript!).

I came across a Reddit post where Apple took down an App because the AppStore displayed the word JAVASCRIPT without authorization from Oracle.

I wonder if they will continue to enforce it in the future given that it is such a ubiquitous term. Many have suggested that we should refer to it as ES going forward and call it a day. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Did you know about this? What are your thoughts?


Discussion

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pojntfx profile image
Felix Pojtinger

Just call it EcmaScript, as it should be.

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim

Sounds like a great idea.

I hate having to explain the difference between Java & JavaScript everytime like,

Java is to JavaScript
as Car is to Carpet

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alchermd profile image
John Alcher

I really don't like that analogy. They're both programming languages that share a lot of syntax, unlike a car and carpet that has zero correlations at all. We could probably find something better.

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim

Yes you are right.

I should've mentioned that I use that analogy only for people with usually no development experience.

e.g.) My bro-in-law ask me about Java update prompt and confused why he had to update it when he remembers seeing JavaScript messages on the browser.

I just told him that analogy and they are different technologies with a similar name.

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alchermd profile image
John Alcher

I should've mentioned that I use that analogy only for people with usually no development experience.

In that context yeah it should be fine.

e.g.) My bro-in-law ask me about Java update prompt and confused why he had to update it when he remembers seeing JavaScript messages on the browser.

Funnily enough, I just realized that Java used to be widely used for client side interactivity -- while now JavaScript is huge for server side applications 😊

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abrahamjsb profile image
Abraham

EcmaScript is an standard used by Javascript.

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indian_gooner_ profile image
Zaid Rehman

JavaScript contains slightly more stuff than ECMA specs(eg: The things which are added to support browsers)

So basically JavaScript and ECMAScript are different.

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david_j_eddy profile image
David J Eddy

YESYEsYesyes

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bgadrian profile image
Adrian B.G.

I remember the article but it is misleading, apple rejected it base on automatic bot that looked at all trademarks, Oracle did not requested it and the problem was fixed.
Probably Oracle cannot use it anymore, guess is more a Folk term by now 😁

Everything can be trademarked, for example now Bitcoin asso iations were created to fight companies that try to trademaek the term, and tries to keep it free.

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theoutlander profile image
Nick Karnik Author

I was thinking about that since it didn't mention anywhere that Oracle asked for it to be taken down.

Why do you say Oracle cannot use it anymore?

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picocreator profile image
Eugene Cheah

There would be arguable grounds that the trademark term has been "Genericide". However until it is proven in court, its not official.

Its a situation, where a trademark has gain such popularity and dominance over a term, that its trademark will no longer apply. Allowing even their competitors to use the same term, like almost every other english term in the dictionary.

Some well known example would be

  • Dumpster
  • Thermos
  • Hovercraft
  • Dry Ice
  • Heroine

These were actual trade mark terms that gotten so popular, they have lost their trademarks.

This is actually part of the reason why you would see "Google" putting their name on a 101 products, because some would argue "Google" has come to mean "Online Search" and hence no longer a trademark. While on the other hand, Google would argue it doesnt just mean search, but a 101 other different things and hence still a trademark. (Legals 🤷)

This is a very complicated legal topic, and Wiki would have a much more elaborate explanation : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_trad...

So if im guessing, I would bet Oracle wouldn't sue over such a term, as it would just open a can of worms of it potentially being generalized.

Disclaimer : I am not a lawyer

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link2twenty profile image
Andrew Bone

I think it would be indefensible, that being said IE's interpretation of ECMAScript was called JScript specifically to avoid a fight.

'Javascript' has been trademarked since Netscape introduced it, 23 years ago.

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theoutlander profile image
Nick Karnik Author

True. Although, Sun owned the trademark. I don't know if it had purchased Netscape and inherited it.

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link2twenty profile image
Andrew Bone

Looks like they introduced it together.

tech-insider.org/java/research/199...

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theoutlander profile image
Nick Karnik Author

Good find. That is internet gold! I didn’t know that part of JavaScript’s history. I guess it was a couple of years before I got into web development.

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stereobooster profile image
stereobooster

Well, the story is: in early days there were browser wars, it was Netscape (current Mozilla) against internet explorer. Microsoft was a big player and Netscape joined forces with Sun to fight with IE, they renamed their new programing language LiveScript to JavaScript and made it trademark (because Sun already owned Java) so that Microsoft could not copy it (narrator voice: Microsoft copied). Microsoft created another language which is named JScript. Later they gave up this fight and joined forces as ECMAScript, which is the official name of JS right now.

(Disclaimer: I didn't do any fact check, this is from my head as I remember it).

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eljayadobe profile image
Eljay-Adobe

JavaScript was originally called LiveScript, and was developed under the codename Mocha.

Try to call JavaScript something else is probably too late.

EcmaScript, ActionScript, ExtendScript, LiveScript, Mocha... alas, that ship has sailed.

We can only blame marketing folks for the rebranding, and trying to ride the coattails of Java's popularity at that time.

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sagar profile image
Sagar

"JavaScript" is a trademark of Oracle Corporation in the United States. It is used under license for technology invented and implemented by Netscape Communications and current entities such as the Mozilla Foundation. - Wikipedia

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cathodion profile image
Dustin King

In my opinion it's been Kleenexed. It's a formerly branded term that has taken on generic meaning, therefore (I think it could be argued, though I'm not a lawyer so don't quote me on this) the trademark is invalid.

I don't know if that's actually true of Kleenex. I just call them tissues. However, I've never used JavaScript to refer to a product of Sun Microsystems or Oracle.

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simov profile image
simo

Just rename it to [SomethingElse]Script already!

JavaScript is no good for obvious reasons.

ECMAScript is kind of weird.

LiveScript is cool but it's already taken. BTW that was the intended name before Sun intervened.

NeatScript sounds good too :)

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brianemilius profile image
Brian Emilius

Scripty McScriptface
I'd vote for that

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tailcall profile image
Anton Istomin

It'd be pretty cool if everyone called it EcmaScript because that way nobody would ever confuse it with Java again.

Also language evolved quite a lot, it's no wonder people tend to explicitly refer to the recent dialect as ES6.

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theoutlander profile image
Nick Karnik Author

That’s a very good point. I’m surprised that people still refer to it as Java! Not their fault though. Maybe Java is the reason Javascript gained popularity, lol.

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rdewolff profile image
Rom

Wow, what a surprise, didn’t know this!

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adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett

JavaScript not Javascript if I do say so myself.

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shoupn profile image
Nick Shoup

At least it's not called EichScript!

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tetranyble profile image
Tetranyble

Trust me I've never considered this neither asked questions regarding the trademark of JavaScript. Now I know

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andreandyp profile image
André Michel Andy

Yes, I knew it. That's why I would have liked "LiveScript" instead of "JavaScript", it would be less confusing and more attractive.

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sadarshannaiynar profile image
Adarsh

Well now I am just afraid Oracle might do something similar to JavaScript like they did for Java with Java 11.

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stereobooster profile image
stereobooster

They can't do anything with it. They own trademark, but do not drive its development. Development is done by TC39 committee (for ECMA org I guess)

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cmelgarejo profile image
Christian Melgarejo Bresanovich

What about "JayScript" with Jay as in crow? That can be a good way to preserve the file extensions, coloquial naming of "Jay-S" and have a cool logo with a badass bird.