Proposal for new ISO C 9x time API

Rich Wales richw at
Fri Sep 18 16:09:01 UTC 1998

Antoine Leca wrote:

	Coca is the brand name under which Coke is know here in
	(Latin) Europe.  Coca also happen to be the name of a
	traditional cake made in the region of my wife.  Should
	the cake shop vendors change the name of the product
	. . . ?

I see two big differences between the above example and the suggestion
that the new API should be called "Timex".

First, the traditional cake is a very different item from the beverage,
so there is unlikely to be any confusion in the average person's mind as
to whether the "coca" cake has anything at all to do with "Coca" cola.

Second, the name "coca", as a traditional cake, was around long before
"Coca" came into use as a beverage trademark.

In North America, at least, my understanding is that these issues are
considered significant in trademark law.  for example, back in the days
when "UNIX" was a trademark at various times of Bell Labs, AT&T, and
others, I recall hearing it said that someone could (if they so desired)
probably market "UNIX" brand ice cream (!) without infringing the trade-
mark -- but using the term "UNIX" to identify any computer-related item
(even something other than an OS) most likely wouldn't fly.

I would view the "TIMEX" proposal in the same way.  Using "TIMEX",
"Timex", or "timex_" to identify anything having any relationship at
all to time would, I assume, almost certainly provoke an unfriendly
response by Timex Corporation's legal staff.

First, Timex Corp. has already been venturing somewhat into the computer
field with their "Data Link" line of watches with builtin personal
information managers.  Hence, they would probably be sensitive to =any=
computer-related use of the "Timex" name by anyone but themselves.

Second, even if the new API were obviously not going to compete for
Timex's market share, they would surely put up a fight on principle,
lest their precious registered trademark end up falling into common
generic use (as has already happened with Kleenex, Xerox, and Coke).

Just my (non-lawyer) opinion, of course.

Rich Wales         richw at
*DISCLAIMER:  I am not a lawyer.  My comments are for discussion
 purposes only and are not intended to be relied upon as legal or
 professional advice.

More information about the tz mailing list