Computer software heavyweight Oracle Corporation has begun using questionable trademark infringement claims and bully-boy tactics as it seeks to build a presence in the blockchain news market. The company has existed for 40+ years, but only added the word ‘blockchain’ to its trademark in April 2019, yet it has immediately started a campaign to eliminate competition in this niche. Earlier in 2019, online publication CryptoOracle received notification from Oracle Corp that they must cease using the word ‘oracle’ in their brand or face legal consequences on the basis of trademark infringement and a number of other questionable accusations. Now, the same letter has been sent to popular cryptocurrency and blockchain news website OracleTimes, and the demands amount to a systematic dismantling of the smaller company.
In the letter from Oracle Corporation’s legal team, there is reference to ORACLE MAGAZINE, an online publication covering “business analysis, research and information services” as well as “news reporting services”. The claim is that since the company owns the trademark ORACLE®, and has developed “tremendous goodwill” in that brand over its 40+ year history, they have the right to prohibit any other company using the word ‘oracle’ on grounds that customers may be confused and think the other company is affiliated or associated with Oracle Corporation.
In terms of the case against OracleTimes, the accusation is that since the word ‘times’ is a common suffix for news publications, the dominant element of the name is ‘Oracle’, and this amounts to dilution of the corporation’s brand and something akin to ‘piggybacking’ on their success and reputation. And, if you look at the situation without putting any context to it, you’d be forgiven for thinking they have a point. If the main word in the company name is ‘Oracle’, followed by a common news-related suffix,