O'Reilly trademarks "Web 2.0" and sets lawyers on IT@Cork!

IT@Cork is a not-for-profit networking organisation for IT professionals. IT@Cork organises regular information and networking events which are free for its members.

One of these events – the upcoming Web 2.0 half-day conference is the target of a cease and desist letter (below) from the legal team of O’Reilly publishers. Basically O’Reilly are claiming to have applied for a trademark for the term “Web 2.0” and therefore IT@Cork can’t use the term for its conference. Apparantly use of the term “Web 2.0” is a “flagrant violation” of their trademark rights!

Ironically I invited Tim O’Reilly to speak at this conference last February and his response (which I received on 15th of February) was

I would love to be able to do it, but my schedule is just too full for an additional international trip.

So Tim was aware of the event in February but decided to wait until 2 weeks before the conference to set the lawyers on us.

As I mentioned, IT@Cork is a not-for-profit organisation and doesn’t have the resources available to O’Reilly – what do people suggest we do?

IT@Cork receive a Cease and Desist from CMP

IT@Cork receive a Cease and Desist from CMP

[Disclosure – I am on the steering committee of IT@Cork and the organising committee of the Web 2.0 conference.]

361 thoughts on “O'Reilly trademarks "Web 2.0" and sets lawyers on IT@Cork!”

  1. How unfortunate….

    Why not invoke your predilection for Monty Python and call it “that-phase-of-the-web-that-shall-happen-before-web-3.0 (no more, no less etc etc)”.

  2. CMP has a pending application for registration as a service mark for arranging and conducting live events…

    (My emphasis)

    So in other words: they don’t actually own any such mark right now, and in any case they sure as hell don’t have a registered trademark in the EU.

    My suggested response:

    “Bite me.”

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  4. This is one of the most ridiculous things I have heard in a long time. With all the Web 2.0 events happening recently, including Enterprise Irelands, I wonder have any of them received these notices?

  5. Tom,

    Cease and desist are standard operating practice. Ignore it and see what happens next. They would have to sue Enterprise Ireland as well as they recently used it (as you are aware). Until they register the mark you are free to do what you please (IMHO).

    Joe.

  6. Ny the way, if anyone would like to come to the conference in question, you’re all more than welcome. Anyone interested in buying t-shirts. They’ll have “Web Sue.0” on the front and the text of the C&D letter on the back?

  7. Ummm… This could be just me, but it would appear that they have a pending application for a service mark on “Web2.0” which is quite different from “Web 2.0”. (This could be my eyes or a poor scan). It’s also pending, so it’s not likely that their TM will be approved before your event actually takes place.

    Either way, given that the event is in two weeks, just discontinue any current promo material (if you’re still making any) and retitle the event “IT@Cork’s Web 2.0 half-day” on your web site and on conference hand-outs.

    You have now removed the word “conference” and added your own TM to mitigate any possible confusion.

    Disclaimer: IANAL

  8. Anyone in IT@Cork with the last name of O’Reily.
    You could have the O’Reily Conference!
    Lets see them coming to Ireland saying they own O’Reilly.
    🙂

  9. Obviously, they don’t own the trademark yet. I wonder if it’s possible to object to their application. I’d certainly look into it.

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  11. How about you trademark Web 3.0, just in case and start rebranding immediately. Let the new wave begin.

    In fairness… why don’t they try trademark the word ‘Conference’ or put a license on fresh air. I can’t honestly see them succeeding in this case…

    Surely its got no legal reach if they’re still in the application process, in particular crossing the Atlantic?

  12. Isn’t the whole point of trademark law to protect consumers from confusion? If I heard about something called a “Web 2.0 conference” I would immediately assume it’s the Web 2.0 Conference. If I sent in my money and then found out it wasn’t the Web 2.0 conference, I’d be pissed off.

    You appear to be trying to get people to come to your conference by making them think it’s a different conference which, if that’s the case, is fundamentally dishonest. I’m assuming you aren’t, and so I’d guess you thought that Web 2.0 was a generic term. This nastrygram is O’Reilly’s way of letting you know that, in the domain of conferences, Web 2.0 isn’t a generic term. If you think it is a generic term, you’ll probably need to round up your own lawyers to fight it.

    Personally I hope no one ever uses the term “web 2.0” ever again, but that’s just me.

  13. So Tim was aware of the event in February but decided to wait until 2 weeks before the conference to set the lawyers on us.

    My guess is that O’Reilly was cool with this, but that whatever vipers make up their legal department/retained lawfirm took up arms. For another example of the breed, look at the poor “Nano scratches” ex-plaintiff being sued by the class action lawyers.

  14. Oh, this reminds me…..

    I am going to be rich soon. I’ve filed for a trademark on Web 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, etc. etc.

    WTF? They can apply but getting it is a different story.

  15. You might consider contacting O’Reilly. Do note that this is signed by CMP Media, O’Reilly’s partners at the conference, not O’Reilly themselves. Also, CMP Media looks to be the holder of the trademark application, not O’Reilly.

  16. My response to that C&D letter would be rather harsh for their delicate ears. But until they have a valid TM or SM in Europe, they can go procreate with themselves.

  17. Eh, it sounds like the C&D came from CMP, not O’Reilly. I’d wait for Tim to weigh in on the issue before getting too upset or actually responding to the lawyer types. I’m sure he’ll make a comment on it.

  18. Hi Tom,

    there is some interesting case law whereby anything that is so engrained in popular culture, i.e Barbie, Coke etc. that it becomes hard to enforce the same level of protection on the use of it’s name. Not sure where I read it but try Naomi Klein’s “No Logo”.

    To be honest, I can’t give you any legal advice, but if it were me, I’d ignore and send them some photos of Paul O’Connell. Apparently his left and right legs are named cease & desist so you could launch a counter-sue.

  19. CMP are working with O’Reilly and O’Reilly Media approved the letter being sent to IT@Cork.

    It was a complete surprise to CMP that Tim O’Reilly was aware of the event since February when he was invited to speak. Tim did not air any disapproval at that point.

    The issue is around the event title containing Web 2.0 as it’s seemingly causing confusion in the market.

    So what now?

    Following a phone discussion with CMP earlier today, IT@Cork is awaiting an official response from CMP on the matter. Also requested was a copy of the submitted trademark application in order to understand the alleged infringement. (I sit on IT@Cork steering committee)

    Seeking closure on this matter by tomorrow (Friday 26th May)

  20. Is it just me, or is it CMP who has set their lawyers on IT@Cork and not O’Reilly? I don’t see anywhere on there saying that it is O’Reilly who is asking for IT@Cork to C&D. Yes, CMP mentions that they created it with O’Reilly, but they state on there that it is CMP that is asking for the C&D.

    I’d just ignore it, attempting to trademark something like Web 2.0 is stupid. I can understand attempting trademark their conference because they don’t want confusion. They should go for trademarking Web 2.0 Conference or some other thing that would refer specifically to the upcoming conference.

    Best of luck!

  21. With the collective power of the internet, we should all have our own Web 2.0 conference and see how much in legal bills that CMP can rack up. If a thousand of us do it, and they’re paying $250 an hour for their lawyers, then they’ll amass at least a quarter of a million in fees. Then we’ll see if they really want the Web 2.0 trademark.

  22. Guys,

    Thanks for the overwhelming support.

    Just to clarify one point, I received an invite to the O’Reilly/CMP Web 2.0 conference the other day. The VIP sign-up cost for that conference (only available until June 26th) is $2795!

    The IT@Cork Web 2.0 half-day conference is free to members of IT@Cork and €50 to non-members.

    The use of the € and the significant price differential should be enough to ensure people don’t confuse the two events.

  23. Wow, how can they do this to a non-profit company, maybe they just expect you to roll-over.

    I was about to redesign my site as a Web 2.0 development area, this has spurred me on to plaster my site using Web 2.0 as a key term for the second generation of the Web. Can/will they sue everyone who uses the term, i dont think so..

    Its just common sense that very simple collections of words shouldn’t be trademarked, unless the words are not in the english language, our dictionary should be free from corporate control..

    Would they also say they are the creators of the term?

    Its just greed, like all business that gets above a certain size, it will be their own downfall.

    Good luck..

  24. First of all, at least in the states, you don’t need a TM registration to have rights in a mark, though you do need to obtain a registration to sue in federal court for another’s infringement of that mark. That is, even without a registration, one can still be sued under another legal theory for using an alleged mark, e.g., unfair competition.

    That said, I would suggest you go ahead with the conference as scheduled and as promoted, except that you avoid using the term as part of a name for IT conferences in the future.

    First of all, the only meaningful way they can stop you from using the term as a name for this conference is to go into court in Ireland (or perhaps an EU judicial body) and obtain an injunction. This is highly unlikely given the difficulties of proof and the expense (though you never know).

    After your conference is over you say, well that was a load of laughs, next time we get together we’ll come up with a real snappy (and different) name for the conference.

    They may threaten to sue you after the fact, but there would really be no point. To get anything out of you other than an injunction (i.e., monetary relief), they would have to show that they suffered actual damages as a result of your having put on a half-day, (practically) free conference in Cork, Ireland. A bit of a stretch.

    Find a decent lawyer who will talk it over with you (for free), and then ignore the C&D and go about your work.

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  26. I’ve had an O’Reilly Safari account for several years now and just cancelled it leaving quite an earful in the cancellation reason entry field. This is insane.

  27. Hey, I’ve got a trademark application pending for Microsoft, O’Reilly, Sun, Coke, Ford and McDonalds.

    These guys are treading on my turf…

  28. I guess I should have kept this in my previous reply but I just did not think of it before hitting submit, sorry.

    Where reasonable (obviously not in the case of this conference as it is coming up in a matter of days), it seems people should just stop using Web 2.0 altogether and we should collectively come up with something else and start using it first.

    I think it’s nearly unbelievable that they are trying to enforce such a trade/service mark and that it is surely bound to fail, legally, but just in case… maybe people should make every attempt to bring the status of tue “Web 2.0” mark to useless.

    Just an idea… and maybe not even a good one. *shrug*

  29. As the owner of the Web2point1 domain and someone who held a 1/2 day unconference under that name opposite Web 2.0 Conference here in San Francisco, I would be happy to let you use the Web 2.1 name under a CC Non-commercial Share Alike license. Can also put up your content on the site – contact me via email or through the BrainJams site to discuss further.

    Web 2.1 is about people, not lawyers, litigants and big money corporations.

    Disclosure: I have tried to reach out to Tim on several occasions to speak directly about shared interests and passions, but have not ever received a response. He seems like a really nice guy overalll (the Wired article last November made it seem that way at least) – but he is definitely being pulled in different directions by interests beyond his control…

  30. Tom, you really need to redact this to show that it’s CMP who are making the threats here, not O’Reilly. By leaving things as they are, you’re opening yourself to a genuine defamation suit on ORA’s part.

  31. How about renaming it “Web 2-point-kiss-my-ass”? 🙂

    I cannot believe how stupid this is on CMP’s part. Who thinks of them when thinking of “Web 2.0”? No one. They’re reading too many of their own press releases.

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  33. I believe at this point I no longer have a need for oreilly books. So about -$400/year to you O’Reilly. I hope others do the same. If that is how you do business, you don’t need to be in business.

  34. The validity of a granted US trademark in Ireland probably depends on the conference markting: if you’re marketing the event in the US to US residents then probably a US trademark infringement is happening.

    If you’re just inviting a speaker, then it could ne less clear. And a pending trademark application also makes it unclear.

    There’s some interesting stuff on Crate and Barrell, Ireland, and trademark infringments in the UK here.

  35. Put it in front of a blogging lawyer. If you don’t know one I can recommend. As I see it:
    1. Not TM registered
    2. Application for registration – not yet granted
    3. US law – does it apply in Eire? I doubt it.

    Prior knowledge of the event with no indication of an ‘issue’ counts heavily against them. It’s not on their turf.

    But hey – it’s CMP – what do you expect from mainstream media that accuses one if its interviewees as ‘potentially libellous without checking the facts?

  36. I believe it’s about time someone comes up with a sexier, less geeky name as Web 2.0 to represent what-the-web-sould-always-have-been-inthe-first-place”, build a consesus around this natural-sounding name name and have it protected by means of OSDL patent commons.

  37. Were I in Tom’s shoes and I received this letter I would carry on with my plans as previously laid out, until I got a response to a polite letter asking

    “What service mark, in what jurisdiction, please?�

    Without knowing that you can’t assess the strength or weakness of the claim.

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  39. What a tit. I can’t believe they are trying trademark such a common term. It’s like trying to trademark “Blog”.

    My advice, send this to every journalist in the IT arenas you can think of in both Europe and the US. Nothing makes a great story like a big company beating up on the little guy, and there’s nothing worse than bad PR for a big company.

  40. Well, ‘I told you so’ is a bit of a waste of time, so I won’t bother. A few colleagues here in DSI have blogged about how cynical this whole Web 2.0(sm?) thing has been. But regardless of how we felt about the term Web 2.0, I don’t think we would have objected to anyone using it with the right intentions.

    As far as I am concerned, they have just signalled the death knell for Web 2.0(sm?). There is bound to be a backlash from the Internet community in general and hopefully use of the term Web 2.0 will cease, not because of powerful lawyers, but because the Internet community have better things to be worrying about.

    If I were in your shoes I would not use Web 2.0. Not to appease the men in suits, but because you can come up with something more meaningful like “Profit from new e-business processes” or “How new Internet technologies can drive your business forward”, etc, etc.

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  43. I really hate it when large corporations use scare-tactics like that. They really don’t seem to have a case at all, their SN/TM is “pending” and it is in the US so as I see it they don’t really have a case at all. They are just hoping that they can scare the wee Irish into submission.

    I say ignore them and shout about this enough that Tim O’Reilly will be embarassed enough to wade in and put and end to this farce!

    Bart.

  44. It’s ironic that it’s what this supposed Web 2.0 thing is supposed to be all about that could actually kill Web 2.0. All over the world, as we speak, people are blogging about the death of Web 2.0.

  45. Does anyone have a list of the people who would shell out for the IT@Cork Web 2.0 Conference in the belief that it was ‘the’ (?) Web 2.0 Conference?
    They’d just pop off a cheque without looking at who was going to be speaking for how long about what specific topics?

    My dear friend Miriam Abacha from Nigeria would like to approach them for assistance in getting GRILLIONS OF DOLLARS out of the country.

  46. Via The Inquirer:

    “Sara Winge, our VP of Corporate Communications, asked me to post this:

    The blogosphere has been buzzing today about O’Reilly sending a cease-and-desist letter to IT@Cork, demanding (yes, that’s the legal term) that they not use “Web 2.0” in the title of their conference. I’d like to give the O’Reilly perspective, and clear up a few things. You’d be hearing from Tim, but he’s off the grid, on a (rare) vacation.

    O’Reilly and CMP co-produce the Web 2.0 conference. “Web 2.0” was coined when we were brainstorming the concept for the first conference in 2003. As noted in the letter to IT@Cork (sent from CMP’s attorney, but with our knowledge and agreement), “CMP has a pending application for registration of Web 2.0 as a service mark, for arranging and conducting live events, namely trade shows, expositions, business conferences and educational conferences in various fields of computers and information technology.” To protect the brand we’ve established with our two Web 2.0 Conferences, we’re taking steps to register “Web 2.0” as our service mark, for conferences. It’s a pretty standard business practice. Just as O’Reilly couldn’t decide to launch a LinuxWorld conference, other event producers can’t use “Web 2.0 Conference,” the name of our event. In this case, the problem is that it@cork’s conference title includes our service mark “Web 2.0,” which the law says we must take “reasonable steps” to protect. We’ve also contacted another group that has announced a “Web 2.0 Conference” in Washington, DC this September.

    In retrospect, we wish we’d contacted the IT@Cork folks personally and talked over the issue before sending legal correspondence. In fact, it turns out that they asked Tim to speak at the conference, though our Web 2.0 Conference team didn’t know that. We’ve sent a followup letter to Donagh Kiernan, agreeing that IT@Cork can use the Web 2.0 name this year. While we stand by the principle that we need to protect our “Web 2.0″ mark from unauthorized use in the context of conferences, we apologize for the way we initially handled the issue with IT@Cork.”

    http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2006/05/controversy_about_our_web_20_s.html

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  48. tom,
    whatever goodwill o’reilly had within the community, it just disappeared. keep on doing the good things that you’re doing and maybe “web 2.0” will disappear from the lexicon so we can all move forward.

    cheers, mark

  49. It’s been quite a buzz over the blogosphere about this web 2.0 thing. Yet I like the way the guys @ o’reilly took care of it! Official excuses for the initial reaction is a good sign that they don’t “own” something that is actually ours (web 2.0 is not a “brand” only, it’s an “age” we live now into). Yeah, good stuff.

    So, about all the hatred towards the big corporations … here is one corporation that looks like they are OK even with the use of their brand in others’ conference. I think it’s all going the right way 🙂

  50. Uh, “members of the industry and interested members of the public have come to associate the mark Web2.0 and the Web2.0 Conferences with CMP and Medialive”?

    Uh, no. I didn’t even know there was such a thing, and naturally didn’t know that it was anything to do with those particular corporate bullies. I actually thought – and I’m certainly a “member of the industry” – that “Web 2.0” was just a stupid buzzword used by wankers.

    Wankers … lawyers … what is difference?

  51. Jinfoo,

    C’est tout à fait le cas. Mais c’est délirant de voir autant d’attention dédiée à un concept aussi aveugle. Je suis vraiment content de voir que la raison primaire derrière tout ce bordel est de l’argent, des sous et de la tune. Ca ne vaut vraiment pas la peine de parler du Oueb Deux-Point-Zéro, parlons de la technologie :)! Parlons du AJAX, des blogs, de l’interactivité mais n’essayons pas de les mettre dans un même sac comme s’ils était magiquement liés.

  52. What does it mean? Who decides if a Web site or an application is Web 2.0? Obviously it’s not a technology, so how do you become Web 2.0? Is Google mail Web 2.0? Or Yahoo Mail Beta? Or Wikipedia, is it Web 2.0?

  53. Absolutely amazing — O’Reilly just lost a fan. Don’t let them to intimidate you — stand firm….

    – Nathan

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  55. They have a trademark in the US, not in Ireland. Use it; not much they can do about it.

  56. I agree that this type of action is offensive. Keep in mind that a US registration generally applies only in the US. Therefore, even if they have a valid right, they can’t reach beyond the US to enforce it. They could only restrict you from marketing in the US. Also, their registration applies only to live events, conferences, etc., and does not apply to use of the term in other ways. The US has a first to use rule, so that if you used the term in the US before their registration (for the above purposes), you have superior rights. While their registration is pending, others can oppose their application, and you may wish to consider doing so. Generally, their mark is very weak since they have to disclaim the use of “web” apart from as shown in the application. BTW, you can find the application on the http://www.uspto.gov site (you have to do a search). You should be able to use the term Web 2.0 as long as you don’t name or refer to your event with it (even if they have valid rights) – ie, as long as you don’t use the term “in a trademark sense”. In sum, this may be more of an annoyance, but you shouldn’t ignore it unless you clearly understand your rights and potential consequences. Good luck.

  57. Perhaps simply Web2 ? Would this get around their trademark ? Its as close to the original as possible. Whilst I think its nearly pathetic to be thinking of a new name, if everyone adopted a new name, it would really be ‘in their face’ 🙂

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  59. the web formerly know as that phrase we can’t say now

    welcome web 3.0 !! ( hey that’s mine now, noone can use it!!!! )

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  61. The letter says that they have applied for the trademark on the term Web2.0 in the category of ‘conferences and events’. This is very different than applying for the general term. What they’re saying is that they own (or hope to) the term Web2.0 as the title of a conference.
    At the risk of saying something unpopular (ducks for cover) I’d say they have a point. You’ve named your conference the same thing as theirs, and what they’re saying is that’s not okay.

    Their request for a trademark could be declined (whichever country it covers) as Web 2.0 is such a widely used term these days that it may be ‘untrademarkable’. If this happens then the floodgates are open. We can all have our own Web 2.0 conferences.

  62. Until now, I was under the impression that O’Reilly was a clean company – but with the CMP ownership, I guess corporate greed and fear fuelled by lawyers are now calling the shots.

    Time to boycott O’Reilly – after all, they are the parasites of the Open Source….any thoughts on this..after all, if Gray Davis, Governor of CA could be brought down, why not O’Reilly and we, the readers who made O’Reilly can “unmake” them!!

  63. Great move Tim. Create a keyword “Web 2.0”, wait for people to start using it and then sue them. I am loosing respect for the Oreilly company…sigh…

    IMHO, just call the conference WEB 2.1 as someone suggested.

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  66. Um… Maybe stick a (r) thingie after it, and attribute the trademark to O’Reilly?

    Isn’t that what you usually do with a trademark?

  67. Well O’Reilly did coin the term. If they don’t want you to use it for your conference, come up with a new name. Web 2.0 is so overused anyways. Anyways, O’Reilly isn’t a bad company, it’s not like this is Microsoft comming down on you for a word in the dictionary. Not everything has to be a big fight.

  68. So I can actually trademark “CocaCola 2.0”, “Pepsi 2.0”, or “Webcam 2.0”, and “Ethernet 2.0”, and …..

    What a mess, doesn’t sound right to me.

    Thorsten

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  70. Doesn’t it say that they’ve applied for a trademark. Does simply filing the application give them rights over it. I would imagine–although I’m not a lawyer–that you can use it until the application is approved.

  71. Attempting to trademark “Web 2.0” sounds about as reasonable as trying to trademark “Web”. We’ll have to see what happens with that application…

    Will they also go after everyone else using the term “Web 2.0”?
    http://www.web2con.com/
    http://web20workgroup.com/
    http://web2.0validator.com/
    http://web2.0awards.org/
    http://www.web20show.com/

    Some pretty good discussion about the purported origins of the term at http://www.paulgraham.com/web20.html

    Actually, it sounds like this issue was resolved with O’Reilly already? See http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2006/05/more_on_our_web_20_service_mar.html

  72. As a lawyer friend says, ‘TM’ stands for ‘totally meaningless’ and ‘SM’ for ‘still meaningless’.

    Ignore the bastards.

  73. Let this guy in his stupid world, continue using WEB2.0 if we want, and forget him !!
    With luck, he’ll disappear of the internet network one day, asap !

  74. Again – they have applied for the trademark in respect to ‘conferences and events’ not the general term. This means that they can only stop people using the name for ‘conferences and events’. And I presume only in the US, since it’s near impossible to trademark a well-used phrase within a certain industry here in the UK.
    I think the Web 2.0 working group is safe 🙂

  75. Even from a pure commercial perspective “lets make money”… this is difficult to understand. Besides being very bad publicity and the fact that maybe the Adaptive path should actually be holding this patent, besides the fact that it seems to go against everything you championed in the past… Commmercially the more web 2.0 conferences there are (even outside the O’Reilly umbrella) the more book sales it will generate. What if someone had ‘service marked’ telephone 100 years ago.

    Hope this gets sorted in IT@Corks favour. Break a leg Tom. Don Crowley

  76. As someone whose main business is in another industry, the naivete of the internet world in the matter of intellectual property is amusing. This is just the way it works, folks.

    At any rate, the USPTO TARR record is here:

    http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=ed0f7d.3.1

    and the TDR records and PDFs of all the paperwork are linked from that page.

    Filed November 3, 2003, published for opposition September 13, 2005, allowed December 6, 2005. It’s all over.

    There’s nothing particularly nefarious about this application. If you don’t like the law, you’re going to need to change it. But I’d get on with my life, since IP law is so bound up in treaties that it takes forever to change.

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  78. I think you should raise a statue out of this and rename the whole thing. Of course a less long and humoristic one than “Despite the money-grabbing lawyersâ€? conference (I like it a lot, though). Rather something like an abbreviation for “user experience” or so.

    People will maybe pick up on it and others will get used to it. It will maybe even supersede Web2.0 someday and remind people what Web2.0, UserX, whatever is originally all about.

  79. What the F**ck ?

    You got to get Tim O’Reilly response.

    I don’t think he is such an idiot, it probably something his lawyers did in his behalf. This is completely contradicts his point of views on technology.

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  81. We have the power to fight it ! START USE THE WORD WEB 2.0 EVERYWHERE!!! buy domains with web 2.0 ! we are stronger then the organizations , isn’t it the description for WEB 2.0 ??? DEAR TIM , THE WORD “RADAR” , BELONGS TO MY GRANDFATHER !!! STOP USING IT !!! every person is the biggest enemy of himself , here’s the proof…

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  83. Yeah as I said it is an own goal as far as I’m concerned. But before we go all “jerry springer” on this lets wait for Tims responce. Even if he is wrong on this I have alot of respect for him. He is on holiday, so lets wait and see what he says first.

  84. I agree with Don Don Crowley.

    We got to get a response from Tim O’Reiily itself.

    But getting “jerry springer” about it has it’s own value:

    It shoes his lawyers and business managers (who don’t give a damn about the community) what people think on their point of view.

  85. You mentioned that IT@Cork doesn’t have the resources to fight this. I suspect that IT@Cork’s bank balance is quite small. Even if O’Reilly’s claims were valid the worst that could possibly happen is that IT@Cork would go broke and may have to start over. That would actually be better than given in to these guys.

  86. Keep going.The letter is ridiculous. How can they claim that Web 2.0 popularity is the result of CPM investment!
    You will have support from all of us (execept greedy lawyers!

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  88. I tire of big businesses bullying the little man, time to strike back and hit them were it hurts most, the wallet.

    Thats the last O’Reilly book or service I buy. If a large enough group of people do the same, they may be forced to sit up and take notice.

    Sorry O’Reilly, you’ve lost at least one customer over this, I didn’t realise that you shared the same bed as microsoft.

  89. I don’t think it is a good idea to forbid people from using the term “Web 2.0″. Language must be free as well.


  90. I can’t help thinking that O’Reilly are victims of their own success here. Like it or not, “Web 2.0” has stuck pretty well as a term. Protecting their Web 2.0 conference while still hoping to keep it in popular use is going to be a difficult line to walk.

    It seems Tim O’Reilly himself is on holiday. I wonder whether things will change when he returns.

    [more]

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  93. Like few others, also I think that not buying books from O’Reilly, as well as other services from them, is the right direction. O’Reilly owes must (if not all) of it’s success to the community and open source community, and therefore they should pay a price when they are turning against it’s customers.

    O’Reilly publishes fine books, but for most of them there is a good alternative from other publishers. Just look harder before buying, and you will probably find them.

  94. Web2.0 is a verb. Give it a rest.
    What do you do when Web3.0 becomes the new expression? The argument is dead and O’Rielly will still look like a schmuck!

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  96. My Suggestion
    Make it a 2 day conference. Ireland is beautiful in the summer and I believe Cork is a nice city.
    There is certainly enough to talk about and I’m sure you could get a significant group of speakers.

    Your local tourist board might be able to assist and probarly O’Reilly.

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  98. Call it a ‘Web 1.0 conference’. Today the web is, by far, at its version 0,412 BETA.
    Web 1.0 should be with no errors and standards followed.

  99. Tom

    I’ve just read Tim’s response and must admit I feel some sympathy for him. A couple of points:

    * You seem to have had a very good relationship with Tim beforehand and I think that it would be a waste if this was to sour over a badly handled incident. Tim does seem upset with you and it would be in your (and IT@Corks) interest not to leave it like that.

    * The problems stemmed from the fact that the Web2.0 conference spawned a generic term Web2.0. This led to a difficult situation for CMP as they need to protect their brands but in this case their brand has been adopted overly widely. Its a tricky balancing act and not too surprising they fallen at the first fence (I far as I can remember this is the first time a conference has spawned a term like this). You were quite right to push back but maybe you should have gone to Tim before blogging about it.

    * I think CMP/Tim have learnt a lesson about allowing confusion between a conference and a term and hopefully they’ll be more careful. For now I think they’ve lost Web2.0 and will have to come up with some Web2.0World type brand for their conference.

    * I’ve read all your posts and while I think it may have been better to talk direct to Tim (I know he was out but there was no real urgency) I don’t think you stirred the fire overly. Pile-ons are the default behaviour on the web and you can’t be blamed for that or for other peoples stupid comments/posts.

    To sum up I think you too should just kiss and make up and do it publicly. Lessons learnt on both sides, Tim seems reasonable and I know you are.

    Best of luck
    Des

  100. Trivia
    Speaking of coining a phrase. Did you know that the term “boycott” itself was coined in Ireland in 1880. Athough not in the same town as this conference.

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  104. Oh my godness.

    In my understanding the term “Web 2.0” was just a misinterpretation of the idea, that we start to live and work with a next generation web, so we could say web 2. For those who try to make profit with the idea of a symmantic web which should be part of “Web 2.0” is one of those rediculous things we europeans still hope to protect ourselves again the possibilities to get trademarks something similar like the possibility to get a patent on an idea.

    In anyway, we all should start working against those trademark and patentsharks as we will not be able to realize groundbreaking projekts and ideas in the neareast future.

    Just my 0,02 EUR. 😉

  105. We can be grateful that Tim Berniers Lee
    did not copyright “World Wide Web”, “WWW”,
    or “The Web”…else there would never have
    been web conferences.

  106. I realise its a bit late, but I have just posted a possible solution on my MindSpace Art Blog/Podcst


    So I propose an interesting solution to this issue. I think from now on, everyone should refuse to refer to the term “Web 2.0″ and instead use the term “Web 2.1″. Not only does this give O’Reilly no leg to stand on, it also sends a clear message that the social web will not stand for corporate intimidation. So in this way, it is describing a new version of the web, which justifies an incremental version increase. And with an almost self prophetic irony, it is creating a new version of the web that the term itself ushers in. Web 2.0 has been around long enough for it to look significantly different now compared to when it first emerged, so I think it is high time to evolve to Web 2.1. Web 2.1 can also represent the related fights for Internet Neutrality (www.savetheinternet.com and http://www.itsournet.org) and Free Culture (www.lessig.org and http://www.eff.org).

    To pre-empt any future issues, I’ll state that not only Web 2.1, but Web X.X can now be considered a generic term, so no one can own trademark control over it in the future.

    Of course, the only way for the term Web 2.1 to become completely generic and for people to be free of unacceptable corporate restrictions and intimidation is for this idea to be spread and used. Ok, sure, it is a long shot, but if it was to happen, ideally, it should not be used blindly, but should be used with knowledge of what it represents and why it became necessary.

  107. C’mon, the Irish are infamous rebels. I’d tell them to go f*** themselves. In America, people can sue, in Ireland I would never even have known where to find a lawyer. We used to settle disputes with pints or fists. What are they going to do? Sega tried to do the same thing with 3D (ie. they own the term and technology), if you can believe that. Screw them. I love the workaround idea someone had of using Web 2.1 – it’s exactly how the band Thin Lizzy got around copyright infringement (ie. the cartoon Tin Lizzy – people in Dublin would pronounce “Thin” as “Tin” anyway – brilliant idea!). I’d rename it the “Ballbag O’Reilly Web 2.0 Memorial Conference”. In fact, hand out Web 2.0 stickers and t shirts to show how unfazed you are.

    But in all seriousness, not only is it an incredibly small thing to do, attempting to sabotage your conference, especially when it is an honourable cause, but the way they did it is just mindless. It’s petty and you should counter sue as many people have already bought air fares and hotels etc. Can you say, “Class Action”?

  108. You might consider contacting O’Reilly. Do note that this is signed by CMP Media, O’Reilly’s partners at the conference, not O’Reilly themselves. Also, CMP Media looks to be the holder of the trademark application, not O’Reilly.

    I not sure of correctness of your ideas

  109. Until the a standard for the http 2.0 protocol is ratified by the IEFT, web 2.0 simply does not exist.

  110. Sorry for the tardy post, but I just read about this.

    I remember a few years back when some knuckleheads decided to trademark the term “Year 2000,” slap it on some t-shirts and coffee mugs, and then tried to sue anyone that dared utter it.

    I have an idea: Why not use the term “Web 2.0 Beta?” After all, that’s really what it is. Web 2.1 suggests that 2.0 has been implemented and updated, but really, it hasn’t.

    Or, you could release a product simply called “Web,” and then uodated it to version 2.

    Such silly attempts at cash grabbing rarely work out, and ultimately the greedy bastards will spend more money attempting to defend their claim then they will ever make trying to sell it.

    Just like the fools with the 93,459 “Year 2000” t-shirts in their garage.

  111. Just a quick note that we are indeed moving forward with Web 2point2 here in San Francisco – only 1% of the cost of that other web versioned conference at $32.95 – gets you 2 lunches, a t-shirt and access to the Web 2.2 Release Party – if you are around SF, please join us.

  112. It is amazing how any issue involving patents or trademarks brings out so many ignorant and indignant rants from people who have no understanding of the law. In this case, there have been so many that very vew are likely to see my comments, but I was so annoyed I had to post them anyway.

    1. IT@Cork had to know that there was an existing Web 2.0 conference. Naming theirs the same thing was certainly ill-advised.

    2. If you don’t defend your trademarks, they are no longer valid. In this case, anyone would be able to start up “Web 2.0” named conferences and there would be confusion in the market. So, you have to defend them, even when it is a “poor little non-profit” that is infringing.

    3. Patents and trademarks abused quite a bit these days, but most of the people posting here seem to think that their very existence is evil. They obviously aren’t trying to run a business, or they would be more sensitve to this. If you launched a product (like a conference) with a given name, and someone else starts using the same name for a similar product, you would probably be rushing straight of to a solicitor and doing the same thing CMP has done here.

    4. As has been pointed out here a few times, a trademark exists from when it is first used. A registration in a given jurisdiction is necessary for certain administrative purposes, but doesn’t affect the legal standing either way.

  113. Hoopla makes some very valid points – especially with regard to the fact that we are talking about a confernce – yet misses the larger one.

    Yes, patents and trademarks are valuable and necessary for commerce. Their existence is far from evil, and is in fact a very good thing.

    However, the flip side of it is a tendency to try and own everything. When Paris Hilton tries to trademark the phrase “That’s hot!,” a line has clearly been crossed.

    Likewise, when fifteen companies scramble to trademark the term “shock and awe,” the spirit of patents and trademarks is being abused.

    Admittedly, the “Web 2.0” issue isn’t the same thing as the former examples, but the debate has become a gray area. O’Reilly coined the term Web 2.0, but as a meme, it took on a life of its own. It’s akin to Robert Cailliau’s coinage of the term “World Wide Web,” which also began life as the name of a conference, interestingly enough. It’s simply too big of an idea for one entity to claim ownership.

    To his credit, Tim O’Reilly acknowledges that the use of the term has quickly become ubiquitous, and that they may have to set it free. CMP technically owns the name, though, so we’ll just have to see what happens next.

  114. This is one of the most ridiculous things I have heard in a long time. With all the Web 2.0 events happening recently, including Enterprise Irelands, I wonder have any of them received these notices?

  115. Time to post to this again, since there seem to be a few more postings from people, who haven’t really researched the issue (or don’t care about accuracy or trademarks).

    1. Neither Tim O’Reilly nor O’Reilly Media have trademarked anything here – CMP puts on the conference, and they are the ones with the trademark.

    2. Web 2.0 wasn’t in common usage before they came up with it as a name for their conference.

    3. They haven’t tried to stop it being used for a great many things, but when it comes to conferences, they have to. Otherwise, they may as well just give up on holding their conferences. There would be a lot of confusion if there were 500 different “Web 2.0” conferences.

    If you started a business, and someone opened up down the street with the same name, doing the same thing, you would probably not think trademark laws were such a bad thing.

    In addition, if they don’t defend their trademark from little indignant punks, they lose it. And then anyone, including big companies who might be their direct competitor could use the name.

    4. There is no such thing as “Web 2.0” or “Web 50.0”, it is a concept name that they came up with for what is coming NEXT.

  116. the question was not whether O’Reilly trademarked the term, the issue was O’Reilly’s knowledge of the trademark status of Web 2.0, and that he may have acted deceptively towards the public.

  117. Scott,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    You said:

    if they don’t defend their trademark from little indignant punks, they lose it.

    ROFL, it has been a long time since anyone called me a little punk, never mind an indignant one!

    There is no such thing as “Web 2.0″ or “Web 50.0″, it is a concept name that they came up with for what is coming NEXT.

    Ah no, it is not a name they came up with. The term Web 2.0 was coined and first used online by an Italian researcher (see earlier comments for link). O’Reilly/CMP merely took his term and popularised it. If I coined a phrase and CMP/O’Reilly popularised it and then trademarked it, I’d be pissed off!

    By the way, just as a matter of fact, there was no trademark granted anywhere for the term Web 2.0 in May 2006 when CMP and O’Reilly’s sent the C&D.

    And finally, I still believe that CMP/O’Reilly’s would have been far better served if they had trademarked the term “Web 2.0 Conference”. No-one would have had an issue with that. The fact that they have tried to trademark “Web 2.0” has reflected extremely poorly on them. And, to be honest, it is an indefensible trademark which will fall at the first legal challenge.

  118. By the way, just as a matter of fact, there was no trademark granted anywhere for the term Web 2.0 in May 2006 when CMP and O’Reilly’s sent the C&D.

    not true. CMP Media has held the US trademark for ‘Web 2.0’ since 2004. The fact is that O’Reilly was well aware that Web 2.0 was a trademark, but they were trying to promote the campaign ‘virally’. Unfortunately, for O’Reilly the thing blew up in his face.

  119. CMP Media has held the US trademark for ‘Web 2.0′ since 2004

    Sorry JJ – I’m afraid you are mistaken there. They applied for the trademark in 2004. The application was still pending in May 2006 when it@cork received the C&D.

  120. from the USPTO web site:

    Word Mark WEB 2.0
    Goods and Services IC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: Arranging and conducting live events, namely, trade shows, expositions and business conferences in various fields, namely, computers, communications, and information technology. FIRST USE: 20041005. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20041005

    IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Organizing and conducting educational conferences, tutorials and workshops in the fields of computers, communication and information technology. FIRST USE: 20041005. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20041005
    Standard Characters Claimed
    Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
    Design Search Code
    Serial Number 78322306
    Filing Date November 3, 2003
    Current Filing Basis 1A
    Original Filing Basis 1B
    Published for Opposition September 13, 2005
    Registration Number 3110027
    Registration Date June 27, 2006
    Owner (REGISTRANT) CMP MEDIA LLC LTD LIAB CO DELAWARE 600 COMMUNITY DRIVE MANHASSET NEW YORK 11030
    Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
    Attorney of Record Susan L. Heller and Joseph Geisman
    Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE "WEB" APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
    Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
    Register PRINCIPAL
    Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

    I think the confusion here is that CMP was intending to register for the trademark in the UK/Ireland (not really sure how it works over there). From my information, if someone uses a term publicly then you lose the right to trademark, and this was the issue that CMP had.

  121. JJ,

    everyone was using the term publicly.

    Enterprise Ireland, an Irish Government agency, held a Web 2.0 conference in April of 2006. They received no C&D.

  122. Hi Tom,

    I am in no way defending CMP or any other party. I just want to get the story straight. CMP filed for the US trademark in 03 and its ‘first use’ was in 04. I am not a trademark expert. Basically I think what happened here was some kind of edgy marketing technique where CMP allowed Web 2.0 to grow ‘virally’ with the hopes to harvest the profits at a later date. I am sure someone somewhere used the term Web 2.0, but CMP is clearly the party who provided the stimulus for it to become as popular as it did. Clearly, they did not anticipate the negative publicity that arose from this incident.

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