Let’s Encrypt accuses Comodo of trying to swipe its brand

Let’s Encrypt, a free certificate authority launched by the Internet Security Research Group in November 2014 and backed by some of the biggest names in the industry, today revealed that rival CA Comodo is attempting to “improperly” trademark the Let’s Encrypt brand.

And it’s difficult to see how that isn’t the case.

From a blog post by ISRG executive director Josh Aas:

Some months ago, it came to our attention that Comodo Group, Inc., is attempting to register at least three trademarks for the term “Let’s Encrypt,” for a variety of CA-related services. These trademark applications were filed long after the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) started using the name Let’s Encrypt publicly in November of 2014, and despite the fact Comodo’s “intent to use” trademark filings acknowledge that it has never used “Let’s Encrypt” as a brand.

Comodo has filed trademark applications for Let’s Encrypt, Let’s Encrypt With Comodo, and Comodo Let’s Encrypt.

The Let’s Encrypt blog post continues:

We’ve forged relationships with millions of websites and users under the name Let’s Encrypt, furthering our mission to make encryption free, easy, and accessible to everyone. We’ve also worked hard to build our unique identity within the community and to make that identity a reliable indicator of quality. We take it very seriously when we see the potential for our users to be confused, or worse, the potential for a third party to damage the trust our users have placed in us by intentionally creating such confusion. By attempting to register trademarks for our name, Comodo is actively attempting to do just that.

I have reached out to Comodo for comment.

Reaction on Twitter has been uniformly negative toward Comodo.

  • “Wonder how they justify that?”
  • “What blatant scam artists and legal trolls.”
  • “Time to stop doing business with @Comodo_SSL.”

Let’s Encrypt says it has “repeatedly” requested that Comodo drop its trademark efforts “but they have refused to do so.” The organization promises a legal fight, if necessary. Its technical advisory board includes members from Cisco, Akamai and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The EFF is really good at fighting this kind of nonsense.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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