CIPOh oh! RIM says no to Apple’s “WebKit” trademark filing

RIM WebKit claim
By Ryan Blundell on 31 Aug 2011 09:04 am EDT

The word WebKit has been tossed around by many companies for a few years now. It has been originally coined by Apple as the power behind the Safari browser. WebKit is essentially a “layout engine” that enables browsers to render pages. In 2005, at Apple’s WWDC, Bertrand Serlet (former Senior VP of Software Engineering) was made known that Apple was going to open-source WebKit. Fast forward to May 19th 2010 to filed trademark application 85041789 under International Class 009 – Apple applied to trademark WebKit with the US Patent and Trademark Office. International Class 009, “Computer software for use in developing internet browser software”.

Now in what appears to be an odd move (as far as timing is concerned), RIM filed their opposition to the application on August 15th 2011, with an extension granted 3 days later that allows them to officially submit their Statement of Opposition by November 22nd of this year. This claim can be found on the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website. Right now we can only speculate as to why this is happening now. Torch Mobile was one of many developers that were widely known to further develop WebKit. Remember what happened in August of 2009? Well, RIM acquired Torch Mobile, which then enabled them to include a WebKit-based browser on their BlackBerry devices. It will be quite interesting to see what kind of opposition RIM can offer- hopefully it will carry a little more weight than the recorded “Used in CANADA since at least as early as November 2003.” We’ll be sure to report more on this claim as it develops.

Source: CIPO

Reader comments

CIPOh oh! RIM says no to Apple’s “WebKit” trademark filing


I agree... typical Apple!! Samsung and Asus manufacture more than half of the parts in Apple products, but yet Apple sued Samsung over their Galaxy Tab. Apple have disputes with Adobe, Sony, Blue-ray, and the list go on!

I'm not a BB hater but really? For Real? Apple files to trademark in 2010 and now RIM wants to oppose it after 1 year later?

That's like having an accident then waiting 1 year later to sue the person for damages..

Check the article wasn't made public until recent that Apple filed this patent. There are a number of stages before it is made knowledge to the public.

Apple also won't tell all their 'friends' 'hey look what we did', as they will just try to make it slip by so that when it's finalized they start reaping in money for infringement. So it was up to RIM to find this patent request, and there's obviously not someone sitting at a desk hitting the refresh button on the thousands of patents that go through weekly.

Good on RIM for calling Apple on it, hopefully the iPhone 5 will be banned in Canada (see Apple trying to ban various competitors in other markets).

If Apple coined the phrase, as the article says, what chance does RIM have in succeeding here?
Why did RIM use a term Apple has used for years?
Is it wise to spend the cash on this right now?

Hope they win, if they continue this.



I don't think RIM stands a chance...
WebKit is the name Apple gave to their fork of KHTML in 2002...

Isn't the word webkit pretty much a generic term by now? Lots of people/companies use it, don't they?

You guys missed where they said it was Open Source when Torch Mobile started with it. When RIM bought Torch Mobile they took a product Torch Mobile already had and was using, and put it on a BB.

What I don't get, is how Apple can say "Oh, everyone can have this" then decide years later "Wait, no, I want to own this so people pay me for it." I think if they do get this copyright, it should only apply to any company not already using a previously Open Source product.

Correct me if I'm wrong but, shouldn't it be illegal to patent something that was made open? Apple makes webkit open source so the open source community takes it and further develops it. I would imagine there are dozens upon dozens of company's with some form of webkit. Is this a strategy by Apple to gain the upper hand in IP litigation? Pretty crafty and sneaky if it is true. I mean, making something open source so the masses adopt it then applying for a patent on the name only to have the right to sue all those company's that are using "webkit" just does not sit well with me.
Maybe I'm wrong.


RIM was the first to use webkit in commerce, it was on the Torch. The law says "by being the first to use the mark in commerce" I'm sure they used webkit somehow in marketing

That being said below is what the PB browser identifies itself as:
Mozilla/5.0 (PlayBook; U; RIM Tablet OS 1.0.0; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.11+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/ Safari/534.11+

Right there it says AppleWebkit. So what up wit dat?

This reminds me of what Rambus did with DDR ram, joined a standards group and had input to DDR ram designs all the while patenting the designs for the very standard they were helping to create.

Rambus sued all the memory makers after the standard was created and pressure them to pay up, and this has carried on till now and this was back in 1999...

Looks like Apple is doing the same for copyrights now......

It seems some people are mixing things up. Apple is filing for a trademark, it has nothing to do with the project being Open Source or not. It wouldn't change anything.

it would prevent another company from using the term "webkit". so a company could USE webkit tech but would be unable to call it that. effectively shutting down the ability to market webkit without a license...from Apple
RIM bought the company that started webkit and im officially confused

Don't both the GPL, and BSD Licenses allow for trademarked names? Usually it is up to the company to decide how those names can be used, but nice open source community members generally allow the use of a trademarked name or image as long as it still holds true to the source released by the license holder, and appropriate references are in place. I don't see how there is anything conflicting here. I think Webkit is released under the BSD license which already clearly notes attribution rules, and the rest of the code is released under GPL which allows for similar actions. Add to that RIM to that RIM already denotes that it uses a derivitive of Webkit Apple as previously mentioned in a comment, and I don't really see what the big deal is here.

Of course given that this is a complex issue I may have completely missed the mark. :)