Web 2.0 Trademarked!

Alternate title: Web 2.0 0wn3d!

O’Reilly, famous for its books (and now its lawyers) has sent a cease and desist order on the upcoming [email protected] conference, as they have trademarked the term Web 2.0.

“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 …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.”

They’ve agreed to let it slide for this year, but they still “need to protect [their] Web 2.0 mark from unauthorized use in the context of conferences.”

Techno Pinoy writes: “I call this phase of the evolution “Web 2.1″—which is characterized by all the lawsuits, nuisance and otherwise, that have plagued the tech industry.” He goes on to cites a few other examples.

Or how about Web Sue-point-oh?

Here’s an official response by Tim O’Reilly himself.

Now we know what Web 2.0 “officially” means, after the hundreds of souls have tried to defined it with all types of buzzwords, not to mention its being a buzzword itself. A bubble of a joke that people have been poking at constantly, waiting for it to finally pop, as the its former incarnation once did in 1999.

Amidst the comedy, there is guilty pleasure in Web 2.0, even endearment. People now argue locking down the term Web 2.0 is totally out of sync with the spirit it has conveyed: power to the people, socialization, information on the go, usability aesthetics, speedy responses, and even fun—but weird—names!

But who should really be credited for the term? What of this 1999 article, Fragmented Future, which describes the aftermath of 1.0 and the “first glimmerings of Web 2.0 [that are] beginning to appear”?

How about John Robb’s description of what Web 2.0 will look like? (also cited here)

Will O’Reilly have the last laugh? Some fact-checking must be in order.

Or does the term even matter? Cory Doctorow says, “I think being able to call the shots is more important than being able to own those calls.”

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2 Trackbacks

  1. Web 2.0h, yeahhhh! — qwerky Archive / 06.5.06, 3:20 am
  2. Zlango — qwerky Archive / 07.3.06, 5:11 pm

13 Comments

  1. Sean Fraser
    06.3.06, 5:27 am

    Does this mean Qwerky is morally obligated to rewrite it’s use of the O’Reilly term as Web 2.0™?

  2. ia
    06.3.06, 6:21 am

    Well they seem to be strict about the usage in conference names only, right now that is. I’d like to see ’em run all over the web chasing trademark-droppers.

    I still think it’s not the name but the experience.

  3. Sean Fraser
    06.4.06, 2:22 am

    I agree that it is the experience and not the name. [I confess that I cannot comprehend what that experience will or should be (even after reading about Web 2.0)] I agree that it’s a comedy.

    W3C Intellectual Rights Notice and Legal Disclaimers has a noteworthy explanation of how they use the trademarked term, “METADATA”. And, thereby, one could have a conference titled, “Web-2-O-Rama”.

    I’ve been lurking-about reading your articles but this was the first one that I had to comment on.

    Nicely done!

  4. jangelo
    06.4.06, 2:52 am

    Holy crap. O’Reilly’s going to make a killing with the royalty fees they’d be asking for every mention of “Web 2.0.”

    Whoops, there I go (fishes some change out of pocket).

    Seriously, I think this is all so silly.

  5. ia
    06.4.06, 5:24 am

    @sean fraser: thanks. your site is really interesting.

    @jangelo: it definitely is silly. as silly as this site and its list of weird names.

  6. rickdog
    06.4.06, 3:47 pm

    Who does O’Reilly think he is to have *ANY* legal claim to Web2.0? It existed long before him and just because he put a successful tag on it doesn’t give him any rights, it just made it easier for us to track it. He better keep his money-grubbing hands off it, be contrite, and give a nod to those that came before him who made it what it is. No more animal books for me!

  7. jangelo
    06.4.06, 4:39 pm

    This site? Silly? Hmm. I don’t think so. You may write about silly stuff (the names), but in many cases that’s a serious matter (espeically in business and web app ventures).

    Ah, the things we think up in the wee hours of the morning. 2:52 AM? 5:24 AM?

  8. ia
    06.5.06, 12:46 pm

    @rickdog: well put! i really want to find out where the web 2.0 term really came from. i’m not too sure, though, how o’reilly plans to take action on all the sites and people that have mentioned it. it’s pretty weird now. like a party pooper (or a tell-tale sign of the decline of the era).

    @jangelo: haha. :) yeah, i like to think that branding is an important part of the decision-making for companies and services. superficial, yes, but still instrumental.

  9. Corsarius
    06.5.06, 12:49 pm

    crimony! i agree with rickdog. nobody owns the term “web 2.0”. any claim on it seems to me a mockery, a farce.

  10. ia
    06.7.06, 3:11 pm

    @corsarius: true! although the argument is — what about wikipedia and everything? not that they’re exactly comparable. first this. next, the internet.

  11. jangelo
    06.7.06, 3:47 pm

    Wikipedia is dead. :P

    Next thing we know, AOL owns the Internet.

    Again.

  12. rickdog
    06.9.06, 8:53 pm

    What has Tim Berners-Lee claimed as his own of the World Wide Web? You’d think he’d have numerous claims, being that he actually invented it. O’Reilly didn’t invent anything, he just put a successful tag on something. There’s a reason why some people are revered and made Knights…

  13. ia
    06.9.06, 9:18 pm

    @jangelo/rickdog: yes, tim berners-lee could’ve owned the internet!

    patents are tricky. but do they apply any longer to the web? hmmm.

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