It's not just Ikeahackers: Ikea has gone all-out war on its web-fans.
The attack on Ikeahackers was just the opening salvo. Now the notorious tax-evader has driven Ikeafans to such distraction that they're actually suing the company to make it stop jerking them around. Ikea's attacks on fan-sites are suspiciously coincident with the launch of its own "online community," and also seem to reflect an anxiety that dynamic ads on the sites advertise competing furniture companies.
READ THIS BEFORE YOU COMMENT: Remember, trademark is not copyright. And remember, the risk of trademark genericization is vastly overstated (name a brand in current use today that has become legally generic in living memory! And before you say "Xerox" or "Kleenex," nope, those trademarks are intact). And finally, remember that if a company is worried about a third-party use of its trademark contributing to genericization, all it needs to do is authorize the use -- it absolutely, positively has no obligation to send out a legal threat.
In January 2012, the relationship changed dramatically. "[U]se of the IKEA name and mark in a third party's business name cannot continue," Ikea's lawyers told Ikeafans in a letter. They wanted Ikeafans.com and related domains handed over and for Ikeafans to remove "all logos, symbols, or other source identifying indicia and images." In the Martins' complaint, they note that the demand came shortly after Ikea launched its own online community, called "Share Space," which had traffic that was "a fraction of the volume of users at IKEAFANS.com." "After trying to launch its own community, Ikea decided to take for itself what IKEAFANS had built," wrote the Martins' lawyer. "Ikea is taking a very hard stance," said Connor, the Martins' lawyer, in an interview with Ars. "Their stance is not, 'Let's work it out,' it's 'stop what you're doing, and turn it all over to us.'"
Ikea lawyers stay busy policing the Web as they take on Ikeafans.com [Joe Mullin/Ars Technica] (Thanks, Adam!)
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