O’Reilly continues to bungle Web 2.0 trademark issue

Filed as General on May 27, 2006 9:55 am

Earlier this week, we posted a brief story about how O’Reilly, Inc. had trademarked the term ‘Web 2.0′ and was now enforcing that trademark against a non-profit tradeshow.

O’Reilly has now responded twice to the multitude of bloggers covering this story. In their first post, they apologized for not contacting the non-profit agency in Ireland, but did not back away from using trademark law to “protect” their trademark.

In their second post, O’Reilly’s VP of Communications wrote:

Donagh Kiernan of IT@Cork (to whom the letter was addressed) graciously talked with me late in the work day on a Friday (Irish time), and we’ve resolved the service mark issue. O’Reilly and CMP are fine with IT@Cork using “Web 2.0″ in the name of their June 8 conference. And I apologized again to Donagh for the tone of our letter, and for that fact that we didn’t contact IT@Cork before sending it. That’s not the way we want to do business, and as a few of you (OK, more than a few) have noted, it was a mistake.

O’Reilly conference partner John Battelle also responds.

The real issue here isn’t about defending trademarks, I’m all for that. It’s the fact that O’Reilly went out and tried to trademark what I believe we all perceive as a common term – Web 2.0. That’s almost like trademarking the term ‘Blog’ – it shouldn’t be legal.

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  1. Tom Raftery's I.T. viewsMay 27, 2006 at 10:34 am
  2. By Michael Rew posted on May 27, 2006 at 3:08 pm
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    O’Reilly should know better. Trying to trademark a wildly popular Internet phenomenon, such as Compuserve did with GIF and Amazon.com did with “one-click” shopping, is a Web 1.0 strategy.

  3. By Michael Rew posted on May 27, 2006 at 3:10 pm
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    O’Reilly should know better. Trying to trademark a wildly popular Internet phenomenon, such as Compuserve did with GIF and Amazon.com did with “one-click” shopping, is a Web 1.0 strategy.

  4. By Liam @ Web 2.5 Blog posted on May 30, 2006 at 12:51 am
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    I’ve posted a strategy that O’Reilly could have used to remain aligned with their stated principals: O’Reilly, Get Real

  5. By Klas K. posted on May 31, 2006 at 3:04 pm
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    Apologies or not, the O’Reilly attitude is not web 2.0.