Workspace confusion

One consequence of BT’s launch of BT Workspace (previous post) could be the potential for some confusion in the UK construction marketplace with other products and services called Workspace.

Union Square, for example, has long had an intranet product (with extranet capabilities) called Workspace, and Asite has been talking about launching its second product with the same name for some months now (see Asite’s “major new developments”) And CTSpace apparently got its name from conflating “Collaboration Technology WorkSpace”.

(In addition, you have other, non-AEC software systems called Workspace from IBM, Sybase, Propero, EasyReach, FindLaw and Smilehouse, among others. As if these weren’t enough, there is also a UK property company called Workspace Group PLC.)

I am pretty sure that the term ‘workspace’ on its own cannot be registered as a trademark as it a generic term. To distinguish between the various products and services, therefore, one will need to ensure that the company prefix (BT, Asite, etc) is always mentioned, and care may need to be taken lest customers believe they are buying a rebadged version of another company’s system.

Incidentally, the Wikipedia definition of ‘workspace’ has a specific section devoted to Software-as-a-service, where the term means: “an application that allows users to exchange and organize files over the Internet”. This was only added in October 2006 and currently (as of 15.45 GMT today) seems to be have been edited to be very specific to the BT offering – time for some of the other vendors to make it clear they too use the term, perhaps?

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