O’Reilly also values its trademarks — as do other companies and individuals aligned with the values of openness and sharing. (I’ll note that Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds, that Apache is a trademark of the Apache Software Foundation, Mozilla and Firefox are trademarks of the Mozilla Foundation, Wikipedia is a trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, and so on.
I don’t believe that the arguments about prior use of the term, or about “genericization” have a legal — or even a moral — basis. No one was using the term “Web 2.0″ with its current meaning before we launched the Web 2.0 conference in October 2004, and the subsequent widespread use of the term Web 2.0 to describe the phenomenon itself is outside the scope of the trademark.
I feed compelled to point out, that in the US Microsoft’s use of the word “Windows” failed to stand up to the “Generic use” in the 9th Circuit court. He would be hard pressed to convince me that “Web 2.0″ or for that matter “Water 2.0″ or “Human 6.1″ could hold much more sway than Windows. I am no lawyer, but I think that it is safe to say that “Web” for the “World Wide Web” and the standard software version number are definitely MORE generic than the use of Windows to describe GUI elements, and even the latter couldn’t stand up in court when Lindows came around. I also think, out of the examples provided, only Apache really represents a generic word. Indeed, if they had stuck with Apatchy they would have a very clear cut case, but I highly doubt they would find it easy to get a court to uphold their exclusive use of the term for much at all, if anything.
For the sake of getting the lawyers off our backs, though, I would like to offer up “W3 2.0″ or “W3 R2″ as Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 licensed terms. :)