Big Blue

GSCole gscole at ARK.SHIP.EDU
Tue Jan 30 18:50:08 UTC 2001

IBM either sued or talked about suing a software distribution
organization that was known as Big Blue Software, with the time period
being late-1980s to early-1990s.  Should be a discussion of the issue in
some database.  IBM's contention was that it was widely known as Big
Blue, even though it frowned on the use of that phrase in reference to
IBM.  Several computer news columnists noted that when they had used Big
Blue, as a reference to IBM, there was usually a quick response from
IBM, to the effect that the columnist was incorrect in the use of such a
phrase.  It was felt that 'Big Blue' did not present the image of a
small personal organization, as much as it presented the image of a
large omnivorous entity.  Apparently, IBM had never formally filed
paperwork on the Big Blue trademark.  I seem to remember that IBM based
its claim on the Big Blue name on prior usage, in which Big Blue was
used in reference to IBM.  IBM provided numerous citations of such
earlier usage.

I don't know if IBM has a bulletin that provides the history of Big
Blue, but there should be a database, somewhere, that contains
information about the legal claims.

In one of those Big Company vs. Tiny Company legal situations, I think
that Big Blue Software agreed to discontinue its use of the Big Blue
name, and IBM agreed to let them do that.

George S. Cole   gscole at
Shippensburg University

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