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cmorley
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Xilinx lawyers

Post by cmorley » Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:34 pm

An interesting video by Robert Feranec about Xilinx's recent behaviour... I'd love to know the motiviation Xilinx have but we never will I suppose.

I wonder how long until Dave Jones (EEVBlog) does a video on this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swVuqG9-H0E

Edit: I wonder how long it'll be until the Xilinx lawyers issue youtube a takedown notice for Robert's video...
Last edited by cmorley on Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

scruss
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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by scruss » Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:12 pm

Needed some background, but from the transcript
… but basically, XILINX didn't like, that in the video what was created by this guy XILINX didn't like, that XILINX's and Altera's logo were placed together
Without a ton more backup from the video maker, it seems like a trademark/IP issue. Companies absolutely do own the right to how their logos are used. The idea that there's "this guy XILINX didn't like" seems absurd.

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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by cmorley » Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:44 pm

Fair use. Comparing Xilinx to Altera is standard for a any FPGA related video.

If you misrepresent the company etc then yes... but using the Xilinx logo to represent Xilinx in a video? Fair use.

edit: pesky typos
Last edited by cmorley on Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:50 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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sweh
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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by sweh » Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:05 am

Since the guy (at 30 seconds) totally misrepresents the law ("this content is only for intended addressee" as a reason for not providing the letter - nope!), and since I can't see the video in question, I have trouble accepting at face value anything he says.

I had written a long article on how many errors and mistakes this guy made with respect to trademark law... but, ugh, I'm too tired.

Based on his rant (and that was a rant), it does sound like Xilinx lawyers may have a reasonable case for trademark infringement. Are they being heavy handed? Probably. Are they within their rights? Also, probably.
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cmorley
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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by cmorley » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:11 am

Of course it is a rant.

Please explain at least one reason why this could be trademark infringement and not fair use.

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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by richardtoohey » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:31 am

No-one has said anything outrageous (so no-one take offence at me saying this, please) but it feels like it is getting a little heated in here ...

cmorley
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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by cmorley » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:36 am

richardtoohey wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:31 am
No-one has said anything outrageous (so no-one take offence at me saying this, please) but it feels like it is getting a little heated in here ...
Sorry, I'm not being confrontational. I would like to know why this would not be fair use it seems textbook - educational video on generic VHDL programming.

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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by Richard Russell » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:24 am

cmorley wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:36 am
Sorry, I'm not being confrontational. I would like to know why this would not be fair use it seems textbook - educational video on generic VHDL programming.
My personal opinion is that this is an inappropriate use of the forum, even in the 'off-topic' area.

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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by hoglet » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:04 am

Just to give another viewpoint, I think this topic is very relevant to the forum

Most of my FPGA projects use Xilinx devices.

One of the things I've been considering for 2019 is a generic FPGA add-on for the 1MHz bus that would be include:
- level shifters
- connectors for the LX9 Core Board (a cheap generic XC6SLX9 board on eBay)
- a fast SRAM
- some switches/LEDs
- a high quality SPI stereo audio DACs
- possibly some like of a VGA output

The idea is this would be a great way for people to get into FPGA design, and I was planning on writing a series of tutorials.

I now have some serious doubts about doing this. But I would like to understand what was actually said in the original video that Xilinx objected to. So Stephen, please do finish your blog post on this topic.

Dave

PS, there is also an EEVBlog thread on this topic:
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/xilin ... educators/
Last edited by hoglet on Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by BigEd » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:47 am

Thanks for the link Dave, there's a nice video in there, about misapprehensions and self-censorship around IP.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64WGwD6VIhI

The thing about IP is that everyone's got an opinion, and then there's the law as written, and then there's the outcomes of legal disputes, and then there's the chilling effect of getting a scary letter which might or might not be correct in its allegations and directions.

Of course, I've got my opinion too. The problem here seems to be logos used other than in their natural habitat. An HP logo on an HP scope is fine, but a Tektronix logo on an HP scope isn't. The word Xilinx can (I think) be used in more ways than can the Xilinx logo.

We may have a similar situation in our own world with HDMI. Can those four letters be freely used? I'm not quite sure, but certainly not in the form of the four-letter logo with the specific typeface.

Finally, it's worth noting that 'fair use' is defined both for trademarks and for copyright, but differently. The case in point is a trademark issue.

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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by JonC » Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:37 pm

BigEd wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:47 am
Finally, it's worth noting that 'fair use' is defined both for trademarks and for copyright, but differently. The case in point is a trademark issue.
There's also a difference between Trademarks (tm) and Registered Trademarks (R)
Typically to use either you normally have to obtain written permission, unless a fair use clause is specifically attached to the trademark/logo in question.
Jon
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BigEd
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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by BigEd » Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:02 pm

One often sees 'all trademarks are the property of their respective owners' for this reason, in all sorts of adverts and documents.

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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by ctr » Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:53 pm

It's worth remembering that this is a dispute in America governed by American law. The law is different in the UK. For example, "fair use" is not a thing, but the use of a trade mark in an educational video is not a protected use anyway.

Of course, if you post content on American sites you can't ignore American law, but this seems to me another good reason not to.

(So I just checked that stardot is hosted is in the UK. According to the first link I clicked on stardot is on a dial-up connection! It must have a very fancy modem.)

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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by cmorley » Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:58 pm

Both the USA and EU have fair use provisions.

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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by 1024MAK » Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:41 pm

ctr wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:53 pm
(So I just checked that stardot is hosted is in the UK. According to the first link I clicked on stardot is on a dial-up connection! It must have a very fancy modem.)
Darn, you’re worked out that the whole StarDot empire is running from multiple Econet connected Master 512’s in a large wooden shed hidden in the middle of the English countryside. Each Master 512 being connected via a top of the range Robotics modem...

[A select few have actually been shown inside one of Netnorth’s facilities, definitely no old school dial-up modems present, just racks and racks of servers, internet and fibre optic networking equipment].

Mark
Last edited by 1024MAK on Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Xilinx lawyers

Post by scruss » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:17 pm

cmorley wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:58 pm
Both the USA and EU have fair use provisions.
True enough. But BigEd put it quite succinctly:
BigEd wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:47 am
… The thing about IP is that everyone's got an opinion, and then there's the law as written, and then there's the outcomes of legal disputes, and then there's the chilling effect of getting a scary letter which might or might not be correct in its allegations and directions.
Fair use isn't as cut and dried as some people consider it to be. Xilinx didn't think the use was fair or they wouldn't have sent the letter. As owners of the IP it's their right (and in some cases, responsibility) to defend it. Is it right that this may be causing a chilling effect on the original video creator, given that Xilinx can afford better lawyers than he can? Maybe not. But it's a matter for those two parties to resolve within their legal system. We might feel some sympathy for the smaller party, but none of us are in a position to say with absolute certainty that fair use applied here.

hoglet's link to the EEVblog forum contains some well-considered words:
This is just an unfortunate aspect of trademark law. This is why the copyright pages in technical books state that certain terms and logos appearing in the book are property of their respective owners. That seems to be the accepted solution. A little text overlay on the opening screen is all that is needed to cure the violation.

This sort of chore gets handed to very junior lawyers or even a secretary to write. A well written "cease and desist" would state the requirements for continuing to use the name and logo.

The trademark owner *must* send out cease and desist letters or they will lose the trademark. The appropriate response is a polite letter addressed to the corporate general counsel asking how they wish to have their rights acknowledged. There is nothing difficult or malicious about this. Everyone has to follow the rules that have been established by legal precedent.
Unfortunately, that EEVblog thread also contains a bunch of inflammatory nonsense
Last edited by scruss on Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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