Let’s Encrypt and Comodo in trademark tussle

Graham Cluley

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The non-profit Let’s Encrypt project, set up to help more websites switch on HTTPS for free, has found itself in a kerfuffle with Comodo, one of the largest commercial vendors of website certificates.

Let’s Encrypt writes:

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.

Since March of 2016 we have repeatedly asked Comodo to abandon their “Let’s Encrypt” applications, directly and through our attorneys, but they have refused to do so. We are clearly the first and senior user of “Let’s Encrypt” in relation to Internet security, including SSL/TLS certificates – both in terms of length of use and in terms of the widespread public association of that brand with our organization.

Comodo, which claims to be the world’s most widely used SSL Certificate Authority, wants to trademark “Let’s Encrypt”, “Let’s Encrypt with Comodo” and “Comodo Let’s Encrypt.”

Things are getting ugly… and I can’t see how this is going to help create a more secure internet.

Graham Cluley Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

One Reply to “Let’s Encrypt and Comodo in trademark tussle”

  1. Yet another reason for me not to use Comodo products or services.
    I did try their attempt at a browser a while back and was not impressed. Their other services seem more related to capturing my internet usage than actually being helpful to me.

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