Thomson Reuters (Scientific) Inc. [EndNote] v. George Mason University [Zotero]

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

09/05/2008

Status: 

Pending

Location: 

Virginia

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
Thomson Reuters, creators of the commercial and proprietary EndNote reference management software, have filed suit against the Commonwealth of Virginia and George Mason University, whose Center for History and New Media created the free and open source Zotero reference manager... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

David A. Von Moll, Comptroller of the Commonwealth of Virginia; George Mason University

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Government
School

Location of Party: 

  • Pennsylvania
  • Connecticut

Location of Party: 

  • Virginia

Legal Counsel: 

David Drummey (for Defendent George Mason University)
Description

Thomson Reuters, creators of the commercial and proprietary EndNote reference management software, have filed suit against the Commonwealth of Virginia and George Mason University, whose Center for History and New Media created the free and open source Zotero reference manager that plugs into Mozilla Firefox.

Thomson seeks ten million dollars ($10,000,000) in damages and an injunction, alleging that their site-license agreement with George Mason University was violated. Thomson claims that a beta version of Zotero is able to convert their undocumented binary.ens file format for citation styling into the open xml-based Citation Style Language (CSL) and that they encouraged their users to perform this conversion, sharing the CSL files with each other and that George Mason University distributed such files. Third parties have commented that one beta version of Zotero was able to read and use .ens files as-is and that the Zotero developers did not implement conversion over copyright concerns.

Thomson's complaint states that GMU reverse engineered or de-compiled the EndNote software and are distributing a derivative of EndNote. Third parties have commented that only the .ens file format needed to be analyzed in order to create this compatibility feature, and that Zotero, a javascript and xul plugin, is quite different from EndNote, a more conventional executable. Thomson further complains that their trademark "EndNote" is used to describe this feature. Thomson requested a jury trial. An extension was recently granted. Thomson discreetly changed their licensing terms for their style files on their website sometime this year, according to the Internet Archive's WayBack Machine. They recently added a click-through agreement for any downloadable content for EndNote.

Update:

 6/4/09 - Court dismissed the suit.  [We'll link to the order when we get it]

Details

Content Type: 

  • Code

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Trademark
  • Licensing
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Virginia

Source of Law: 

  • Virginia

Court Name: 

Circuit Court, City of Richmond, Virginia

Court Type: 

State

Case Number: 

CL08004225-00

Relevant Documents: 

Comments

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