In parallel with the Newton project engineers
were also developing a programming language under the code name
Ralph (after Ralph Ellison, author of Invisible Man). When
the Newton team decided to pursue the Pocket Newt (code-named
Junior) device, which lacked the power and memory Ralph required,
the programming language was repurposed for use on the Macintosh.
As the Mac version of Ralph neared completion, Apple decided to
name the product Dylan, which stood for dynamic language. Beta
versions were distributed on CDs at the Apple Worldwide Developers
Conference in May 1994. On August 24, 1994, folk singer Bob Dylan
sued Apple for trademark infringement in the U. S. Central District
Court of California in Los Angeles.
Seeking unspecified damages, Dylan's lawyer,
Joseph A. Yanny, requested a temporary restraining order barring
Apple from using Bob Dylan's name in conjunction with any new
software product. According to the lawsuit, "Apple is intentionally
using, and intentionally has used, the names of famous individuals,
including (Isaac) Newton, Carl Sagan and now Dylan, in conjunction
with Apple's products in a deliberate attempt to capitalize on
the goodwill associated with these famous individuals."
Bob Dylan took exception to Apple's use of
his last name for a programming language.
Shortly after the suit was filed, Apple reached
a confidential out-of-court settlement and obtained the rights
to trademark Dylan. In a December 14, 1994 FAQ distributed to
developers, Apple explained, "It is our intention to license the
Dylan trademark to any implementation which passes a standard
test suite. The purpose of the trademark is to ensure quality
and consistency among implementations." At that time, Apple was
planning to release Dylan for 68000-based Macs in mid-1995.
Apple shipped Dylan in the fall of 1995, then
abandoned the effort on November 17 during an overall reduction
in research and development. Once Sun Microsystems' Java caught
on in the Internet community, Apple reasoned that there really
was no reason for it to continue developing Dylan. However, Harlequin
Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, forged ahead with work on
a version for Wintel clones. Harlequin's first implementation
of Dylan targeted at Windows 95 and Windows NT shipped in mid-1998.
It's ironic that Bob Dylan would sue Apple over the use of the
name Dylan, considering he was born in Duluth, Minnesota, on May
24, 1941, as Robert Zimmerman and legally adopted the first name
of early 20th-century Welsh poet Dylan Thomas in August 1962
Whatever problems Apple had previously with Dylan were swept
aside in 1997 when Apple began using the singer's image in its
Think Different advertising campaign, presumably with Dylan's