Who owns JavaScript?

Get FREE domain for 1st year and build your brand new site

Internship at OpenGenus

JavaScript is one of the most used Programming Language but when it comes to give credit or finding the owner of JavaScript, it gets complex. The original version had two owners Oracle and Netscape while for later versions, we need to add a third owner.

The JavaScript Programming Language was developed by Brendan Eich when he was an employee of Netscape. Brendan Eich is also, the founder of Mozilla Foundation.

The word "JavaScript" is a trademark of Oracle. This had nothing to do with the JavaScript Programming Language but had links with Java Programming Language.

So, it is not wrong if one says JavaScript is owned by Brendan Eich or Mozilla or Netscape or Oracle or Sun Microsystem. There are at least 2 owners of JavaScript. In short:

  • Oracle because of legal name.
  • Specific company like Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and others depending on the JavaScript engine you are using.
  • Netscape as the original creator of the 1st version of JavaScript.

JavaScript developed by Brendan Eich

JavaScript was developed by Brendan Eich.
Brendan Eich was an employee of Netscape Communications Corporation commonly known as Netscape. Later, Netscape faced its downfall and was acquired by AOL in 1999 and was disolved in 2003. It was the Google of its time.

It is notable for creating JavaScript the Programming Language.

For the Netscape Navigator Web browser project, Brendan developed the first JavaScript engine.

JavaScript is Trademark of Oracle

The word "JavaScript" is a trademark of Oracle. This had nothing to do with the JavaScript Programming Language but had links with Java Programming Language.

The word "JavaScript" was originally trademarked by Sun Microsystem, the company that developed Java. Later, Oracle aquired the company Sun Microsystem and hence, all trademarks owned by them were transfered to Oracle.

Thus, currently, Oracle owns the trademark of JavaScript.

Some say the logic behind Sun Microsystem trademarking "JavaScript" is same as:

Java is to JavaScript
as Car is to Carpet

Oracle using JavaScript power

Oracle owns the trademark JavaScript so it has the power to takedown anything that uses the word "JavaScript" including the Programming Language and this post.

Oracle has used this power to take down a few applications but it has not targeted the JavaScript Programming Language yet.

If you publish an app in Apple Store with the keyword "JavaScript" in the title, your app will be taken down and you will receive the following email:

"As you are likely aware, Oracle owns US Trademark Registration No. 2416017 for JAVASCRIPT.

The seller of this iTunes app prominently displays JAVASCRIPT without authorization from our client. The unauthorized display of our client's intellectual property is likely to cause consumers encountering this app to mistakenly believe that it emanates from, or is provided under a license from, Oracle.

Use of our client's trademark in such a manner constitutes trademark infringement in violation of the Lanham Act. 15 U.S.C. ยง 1125(a)(1)(A).

In order to prevent further consumer confusion and infringement of our client's intellectual property rights, we request that you immediately disable access to this app. We look forward to your confirmation that you have complied with this request."

Different versions

The original JavaScript was updated to match ECMA-262 Edition 5 and later versions.

There are many engines that support JavaScript Programming Language. This includes:

  • SpiderMonkey (the original engine)
  • Rhino (made by Norris Boyd, also an employee of Netscape)
  • V8 (by Google as a part of Chrome browser)
  • SquirrelFish or Nitro (by Apple for Safari)
  • Chakra (by Microsoft for Internet Explorer)
  • Carakan (by Opera)

and many more.

So, who is the Owner?

So, JavaScript is defined by the engine you are using. Different engines have different owners. If you are using updated version of SpiderMonkey, ask Mozilla or if you are using V8, ask Google.

The word "JavScript" is a trademark of Oracle so all engines are at the mergy of Oracle.

Therefore, you are expect to have three owners of JavaScript:

  • Oracle because of legal name
  • Specific company like Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and others depending on the JavaScript engine you are using.
  • Netscape as the original creator of JavaScript

With this article at OpenGenus, you know who owns JavaScript, the Programming Language that has taken over the Internet.