SparkFun gets a cease and Desist


[Nate] over at SparkFun Electronics has posted a cease and desist letter he received from SPARC industries.  Apparently their legal department feels that his name is close enough to theirs to ignite a legal battle. They are demanding that he transfer his domain to them immediately to extinguish the flames. This all seems a bit silly, his name isn’t really at all like theirs and his product isn’t similar either.  To add to the peculiarity of this, going to their site throws up a big red malware warning for us (in chrome).

[thanks IraqiGeek]


  1. mowcius says:

    What idiots…

    On firefox I get:

    Reported Attack Site!

    This web site at has been reported as an attack site and has been blocked based on your security preferences.

    Attack sites try to install programs that steal private information, use your computer to attack others, or damage your system.

    Some attack sites intentionally distribute harmful software, but many are compromised without the knowledge or permission of their owners.

    Yeah, go sparkfun, they got nothing on you…

  2. Concino says:

    Phonetically Identical! What the F**K are these attorneys smoking. What else now? We are not going to use “SPARK” in any business name because of this lame ass company? How about “The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition” = SPARC.

    They choose SPARC because they couldn’t have gotten a trade mark if they selected SPARK as a company name. Now they are trying to reverse it? Go take a hike. God, I hate attorneys…

  3. bryan ribas says:

    google blocked it for me on safari. Stupid people

  4. yon says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about these SPARC people, probably just trying to get more victims to their site.

  5. Chris F. says:

    I hope they spend lots of money and do not get anywhere. Talk about an excellent example of one of the things messed up about the USA, needless legal forays. Gee Spark == SPARC? Well anyways… preaching to the choir. My 2 cents.

  6. el tejon says:

    The attorneys are doing what they have to do, and are only doing their job. The real asshats are the SPARC folks who ultimately have chosen to allow their legal representatives to go after Spark in an open and obvious grab for money and attention.

  7. mowcius says:

    Nate at SparkFun (SPARC FUN!):

    “I have the utmost respect for Sun Microsystems (owner of SPARC Industries)”

    Yeah but nobody else does now…

  8. Concino says:

    SUN prove to make bad decisions for the last decade anyways. They were a market leader but refuse to adapt to the new world with LINUX system running on cheap INTEL Processors. Perhaps they thought, it wasn’t a thread. We’ve replaced most of our SUN SPARC servers with other brands running LINUX and we have now 32 times more processing power, and whole a lot of cash in our pockets. Considering a SW company actually bought SUN (ORACLE), I am guessing their intention is not to keep the HW division. So, the SPARC name might not have much more time left anyways.

    Live long and prosper SPARKFUN!

  9. Josh says:

    What a load, i say fight it. That could never hold up in court. Sparkfun Electronics = SPARC Industries? Um no, one is an acronym, the other is an entirely different word.

  10. nave.notnilc says:

    what nonsense, I hope if something in court comes of it SPARC gets their asses handed to them.

  11. Colin says:

    The issue is that this is going to cost sparkfun time and money if the asshats at SPARC decide to push this forward.

  12. yesys says:

    SparkFun is fun.
    SPARC, Inc. is not fun.

    see how they differ?

  13. WTF? says:

    I smell a SCAM. SPARC Can go… well you get the idea. I hope SparkFun does not give in to them.

  14. Seth says:

    There is nothing to fight. This is a standard letter law firms send out hoping you will shit in your pants and comply with whatever they say.

    In general, if you ignore the letters they will give up. You have nothing to gain by responding. In the rarest of cases, they will file suit. In which case, then you can give up or fight.

    Unless you’ve started a company called MickDoneld’s, it’s usually nothing to worry about.

  15. Smokey says:

    I would notify Sun Microsystems though, since they most likely hold the copyright over UltraSPARC, OpenSPARC, and SPARC64 since they are their processor architectures!


    I wonder what Sun’s legal department has to say for that huh! I would love them to ask THEM for a cease and desist and ask them for their domain. Suckers!

  16. Jack says:

    yesys: That was the best example of the difference between these two companies I’ve seen so far :)

  17. Boudico says:

    So, apparently they can use the SI initials without worrying about infrigement on Sports Illustrated? Typical legal-ese BS. Ignore them SparkFun!

  18. kamanashi says:

    Malware thing happens in Firefox with AVG for me too.

  19. me a drink says:

    Why do they not make bullying an offense.

    I suppose they will be going after next, most people know you have to be careful with sparks!

    What little misguided respect I use to have for Sun, Sparc and Oracle just jumped of a cliff.

  20. Matt says:

    If you google SPARC you get a completely different site tied to a completely different non-profit.

    Also, I’ll bet SparkFun occasionally produces literal sparks when working on their projects, whereas SPARC probably hasn’t in ages if they’re doing it right.

  21. Juan Cubillo says:

    I manage thousands of sun’s servers at work… I just hate them all now.

    sparkfun has nothing to worry about. they sell leds, pcboards, and kits to turn pumpkins into halloween prop. SPARC design and manufactures fridge-like servers that cost tens of thousands of dollars and don’t do much.

  22. beermotor says:

    I send out a lot of these letters at my job (in-house counsel), mostly to web scammers of various types. This letter from K&L is pretty amusing. I think the guy correctly demolishes it on the sparkfun site. It’s a nonstarter. Tell them to file a UDRP if they’re so upset. They will lose hard, obviously.

  23. cirictech says:

    I hope this does not effect sparkfun, Sun and sparc may have chosen the wrong group of very loyal customers to mess with. Long live sparkfun! More business coming your way sparkfun to show my support.

  24. FateOne says:

    I wonder if this is trying to tie up anything that could possibly be considered a loose end by any stretch of the imagination before Oracle acquires Sun.

  25. Dieggo Bouvier says:

    Wooow, I just can’t believe this. It’s so stupid that seems to be a joke … I hope the guys at sparkfun (If I write sparkfun I will receive a letter too? LOL) can solve this in an easy and cheap way.

  26. Daddy Su says:

    Boo! Bad form Sparc/Oracle/Sun. Have you ever noticed that non-microsoft companies tend to act like the big bad windows bully eventually. This seems something Microsoft of the mid 90’s would be up too. Not the happy go lucky Sun guys. What next, Apple going to be super proprietary and not play well with other companies…oh wait…

  27. vec7or says:

    Reminds me of Psion-Teklogix whines over ‘netbook’
    Damn lawyers…

  28. therian says:

    what a crap, the word “spark” have a meaning already it not acronym, what if someone name company a “brick” do we have to call bricks a rectangular box shape construction martial made from clay&cement. Sadly this crap might cost sparktime money and time

  29. James says:

    finally, a post that qualifies as a hack.

    the legal system was intended for one use, and now its being twisted and used for something else.

    Still though, this smells fishy. Or should I say phishy

  30. Looks like they just want the domain. I bet they came up with some marketing campaign “sparcfun” and had their plans dashed by one lone hobby electronics store.

  31. Tom says:

    Spark, electrical discharge causing ionization of surrounding athmosphere, usually accompanied by emission of characteristic sound and light.

    I don’t know if that is a good idea, but if it were me, I’d pretty much like to write them an answer letter, with the follwing content:


  32. djrussell says:

    anyone interested in a new car?how about a nissan? lets head on over to their homepage….

    ^^ these guys have held out for years.

  33. Dash_Merc says:

    Too fucking late. Seriously, if they had maybe tried this five years ago, I could see it being okay. Now it’s not okay. there is absolutely no grounds for this. The hacker community and all former and current customers and supporters of SparkFun had better pull together to fight this. If SparkFun loses over something this inane and idiotic…well I don’t know what, but I’ll be REALLY pissed off.

  34. DarkFader says:
  35. pookey says:

    To: Law firm representing Sparc Industries
    From: The Law Firm of Pookey, Pookie, and Pookee
    Re: Cease-and-desist order


    It has come to our attention that you have, do, and plan to continue to use the word “lawyer” in representing your business.

    For at least a century, our clients have used the word “douchebag” to describe parasites who manipulate the law in order to feed from the marrow of the bones of others.

    Whereas our clients have referred to those of your ilk as “douchebags” far longer than you have actually been “lawyers,” whereas our clients used alphabetic letters to construct the word “douchebag,” and then you subsequently also used letters to spell “lawyer,” and whereas, in most people’s minds, the two words have materially the same meaning, your use of the word “lawyer” materially infringes on our clients’ preferred useage of the word “douchebag.”

    This notice should be construed as a cease and desist order. While we acknowledge your right to call yourselves what you really are, i.e., “douchebags,” we must insist that, effective immediately, you refrain from referencing yourselves as “lawyers.”

  36. Dash_Merc says:

    They’re probably just upset that sparkfun and come up before them now when I google “sparc”.


    I have lost all respect for Sun, what little I had.

  37. Dash_Merc says:

    …and my third comment: I do declare, their demands for Sparkfun to “immediately take steps to transfer the domain name to [SPARC International]” sounds an awful lot like piracy on the high seas (or in space).

    “Avast! Lay to and prepare to be boarded!”

  38. Mr. Sandman says:

    lol @ pookey

  39. Brianmanden says:


  40. t0ny says:


    “Malicious software includes 12 trojan(s), 8 exploit(s), 6 scripting exploit(s). Successful infection resulted in an average of 2 new process(es) on the target machine.”

  41. Dennis Booth says:

    I am now rethinking my policy on computer acquisition. I need no Borg.I need no Sparc Station.
    Sparc shows up as an error in spell check.

  42. McSquid says:

    Cr Redfield

    Zombies are now involved. its on.

  43. catzburg says:

    @Boudico I was going to go more like the SI system of measurement, more commonly known as the Metric System. But it’s just the french and they don’t count (jk)

  44. anon says:


    In trademark law you must defend your trademark lest its name become common use. i.e. Xerox, Kleenax, Google…

    That is why Google sued a publication for using google as a verb.


  45. Dcept says:

    I’ve emailed (for those who don’t want to visit the malware-infested piece of shit website). Everyone on here should write them a (profanity-free) Email expressing their views. Also, going after a company that supplies hackers of all types world-wide is pretty ballsy LOL.

  46. rob says:

    you know, I tried to think up something witty and clever to say. but, this pisses me off to the point all I can really say is, what a bunch of scum sucking douchebags.

  47. dikbut says:

    Enter the Streisand Effect.

  48. Mat Patel says:

    “Malicious software includes 12 trojan(s), 8 exploit(s), 6 scripting exploit(s). Successful infection resulted in an average of 2 new process(es) on the target machine.”

    Here is a hint for SPARC International. Rethink your hiring policy. Your lawyers are crap, your IT guys are crap. See a pattern?

  49. Q says:

    I can’t believe that Larry Ellison is sooo stupid… Now I understand why so many people dislike him so bad!

  50. PocketBrain says:

    ??? Looks like a grab for attention by some hackers who compromised sparc dot org. Under no circumstance does anybody purchasing from Sparkfun think they are buying a Sun/SPARC product. I wonder if SPARC international knows yet that they were taken over?

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