The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week announced their intention to replace their EDGAR database with an XBRL enabled platform called IDEA, short for Interactive Data Electronic Applications. CaseWare IDEA Inc. a privately held software development and marketing company located in Toronto, Canada claims ownership of the IDEA trademark and said on Wednesday that it will defend it product's name against infringement by the SEC. CaseWare registered the IDEA trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2001.
In their press release CaseWare IDEA Inc. and CaseWare International Inc. said they are "completely dumbfounded as to why someone at the SEC did not do even the most rudimentary trademark search before announcing such a major project." Trademarks (or brand names) are commercial source indicators. They do not expire. Experts recommend that businesses conduct a trademark search with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office before naming a new product.
CaseWare also claims that the SEC's use of the same trademark for software directed to the same community will cause confusion in the marketplace. CaseWare's IDEA is sold to accountants and auditors throughout the world as well as to internal and government auditors. In 2004 KPMG signed a vendor partnership with CaseWare to supply 6,000 IDEA licenses to KPMG firms.
The company's Web site says that IDEA can read, display, analyze, manipulate, sample or extract from data files from almost any source - mainframe to PC, including reports printed to a file.
"Despite the daunting prospect of a relatively small company challenging the resources of the SEC," the companies' announcement said, "we are taking the necessary steps to defend our trademark and the considerable investment we have made in it."