Dear Oracle, Please Release the JavaScript Trademark

Ryan Dahl

In 1995 Netscape partnered with Sun Microsystems to create interactive websites. Famously Brendan Eich spent only 10 days to create the first version of JavaScript - a dynamic programming language with a roughly syntactic lineage from Sun’s Java language. As a result of this partnership Sun held the trademark “JavaScript”. In 2009 Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems and the JavaScript trademark as a result.

The trademark has no commercial value. Other than Oracle's JavaScript Extension Toolkit, Oracle does not have any products using the trademark and presumably no planned usage. Oracle doesn’t even participate in the development of any of the JavaScript engines like V8, JavaScriptCore, or Spidermonkey. It seems very likely that JavaScript trademark infringement would be unenforceable in court due to non-use.

Nevertheless the trademark is a dark cloud looming over the world’s most popular programming language. Careful law abiding engineers bend over backwards to avoid its use - leading to confusing terms like ECMAScript.

The best value Oracle could derive from the trademark would be from the goodwill it receives by granting it into the public domain. It’s understandable why this hasn’t yet happened - it would require a very forward thinking and high level Oracle employee to propose something so intangible. Yet it is obviously the right move to trade a worthless trademark for brand marketing and goodwill.

Oracle, please release the JavaScript trademark.

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