Home Adobe Gets Sensitive About “AIR” Trademark

Adobe Gets Sensitive About “AIR” Trademark

Two months ago we reviewed a neat Adobe AIR app directory called FreshAirapps. FreshAIRapps looked to be the premier destination for debuting Adobe AIR applications. Two months later and the creator, James Whittaker, is under fire by the very company he’s freely promoted.

Adobe Goes After the Little Guy

As of this posting, if you head to the FreshAirapps site you’ll see a note from James Whittaker noting that Whittaker’s usage of the word “AIR” in his domain name poses a problem with Adobe. No matter how obscure this may seem, rules are rules and Adobe explicitly states the following in its list of trademarks:

“Adobe® AIR™” is a trademark of Adobe that may not be used by others except under a written license from Adobe. You may not incorporate the Adobe AIR trademark, or any other Adobe trademark, in whole or in part, in the title of your Developer Application or in your company name, domain name or the name of a service related to Adobe AIR.”

Is Adobe Just Being a Bully?

Is Adobe jealous of the publicity and potential that FreshAIRapps has compared to its own directory for AIR apps? It shouldn’t be. If you were to do a search on Google for “adobe AIR apps”, FreshAIRapps isn’t even on the first page. On the other hand, there are several reasons why I’d visit FreshAIRapps over Adobe’s AIR showcase. For one, I like FreshAIRapps site design better. It’s cleaner and more refreshing for me. Two, there are reviews from both a technical and user perspective about each app. This keeps me from having to download apps just to find out whether or not they’d be worth my time.

Whittaker ends the note with his reasons for starting FreshAIRapps in the first place, while expressing his disappointment in Adobe:

I have been in communication with members of the Adobe evangelist team who truly believe that I am helping the community and promoting the use of the AIR runtime and subsequent applications built on the platform. I started this site because I have a genuine interest in AIR and other Adobe technologies.

I feel that Adobe has let me and the community down by trying to block sites that appear to challenge their marketplace, even though none of the apps featured on this site are hosted by me.

Is Adobe in the Wrong?

In the end, FreshAIRapps is free publicity for Adobe and they’re going after the wrong guy. This isn’t the first incident where big companies hit the supporters of their products with take-down notices or anything similar. In this case, FreshAIRapps doesn’t even host the applications. Whittaker simply reviewed and promoted the apps, something numerous sites already do. Yet, Adobe blames the problem on the “AIR” trademark that’s registered in the domain name. This all seems ridiculous at the end of the day. With a new domain name and a sour after-taste, is Adobe in the wrong here?

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