Web 2.0 Service Mark

I’m not a lawyer, so this is based on my uneducated understanding, but from what I can gather, if you use the phrase Web 2.0 in the name of a conference then O’Reilly and CMP are within their rights to send you a Cease and Desist. Even if it’s a non-profit Web 2.0 conference like IT@Cork. Who now have coverage of their event I’d kill for :)

I think what’s annoyed a lot of people is that they’ve been dupped in to promoting a clumsy, easy to mock, phrase that’s never been more than a marketing term. The fact that the mark registration process started in 2003 and people are only now aware of it makes them feel like idiots. And they’re lashing out. The fact that some mistakes were made when dealing with the incident (lawyers before chats and the “they can use it this year” line) has just given them some real issues to rally around.

On a tangent, I wonder what the O’Reilly response would be if Jesse James Garrett suddenly declared that he’d be sitting on a trademark for AJAX in conjunction with books or conferences.

This whole incident should be a wake up call for a lot of OpenSource and Free software people, corporate interest is great (the money is better!) and it’s helping us do things that’d take more money or time than we’ve got available at the moment but we should be checking those gift horse teeth to see what’s behind them. Caution is never a bad thing and we should occasionally question what we’re supporting. Especially if it’s a tacky phrase like Web 2.0!

The one image I can’t shake is Tim O’Reilly sitting on a beach somewhere on vacation: “Wow, I know it’s warm here but my ears are REALLY burning…”