Litigious business software developer Tibco Software, which claims to own the rights to the Rendezvous trademark, is waging courtroom war.

The company filed suit against Apple in August, alleging trademark infringement. As reported, it is pursuing remedies for the "competitive and economic harm" it claims Apple's use of the Rendezvous name in relation to its zero-configuration IP networking software has done to its business.

MacNN last night received a report from independent Australian software developer Andrew Wellington. Wellington claims to have been threatened with legal action because he used the term Rendezvous in marketing for his iChat plug-in.

Apple has released its Rendezvous networking software under open-source agreements. This means third-party developers can freely employ the technology in their software and hardware.

Tibco Software will need to have deep pockets for its litigation if it intends pursuing everyone making use of Apple's technology. Third-party companies using Rendezvous in their products currently include: Aspyr, Brother, Canon, Chaparral, Epson, HP, Lexmark, Sybase, TiVo, Xerox, SEH, and World Book.

In September, Reuters announced plans to reduce its investment in Tibco, "following pressure from Tibco management", which wanted to improve liquidity. Reuters owns about 50 per cent of Tibco's shares. The company was itself spun out of Reuters in 1999.


Tibco Software's quarterly report (filed in May), warns that commencing litigation to protect its copyright claims could "divert our management's attention away from running our business and could seriously harm our business."

The report also warns that "The laws of some countries do not provide the same level of protection of our proprietary information as do the laws of the US," and that such litigation may "not succeed".

The company has been named in a putative class action (that includes 300 US companies) for violating federal securities laws in the way it conducted its IPO. Tibco believes it has "meritorious" defence to these allegations.