Name Critic rates Tivoli

Our Rating
Background:One of IBM’s earlier large software acquisitions was for a company named Tivoli out of Europe. Today the name endures as a major software product family and initiative within IBM. Many said that IBM was forced into the acquisition as Tivoli had become so powerful in major IBM accounts, managing all their mainframe infrastructure as well as PC configuration management. Certainly IBM did not have any tools of their own to compete with Computer Associates at that time.But what is a Tivoli? No it is not a technical term, any more than Lotus is – another software company IBM acquired – named after a flower (or car). Tivoli is the name of the famous city square in the heart of Copenhagen, featuring a sculpture of a little boy peeing into the water. Now you know that name was not developed inside IBM.Long term who owns the name Tivoli? For software, no one will want to fight with IBM, and details may be found at For the fountain and square – as well as a nicer logo – see Plus there are other legal usages including home appliances.

Clients are warned, however, that cities, regions, etc., are starting to wake up to the value of their own names, including the marketing, branding and protection of their place names. Even though traditionally many names are geographic in nature, this is one of the very active areas of current trademark case law, so you are advised to be careful when co-opting such a name.

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