RADAR O'REILLY--the place where I first read the term "Web 2.0"--reminded me that I have plans to attend a technical conference in Cork in early June. Besides being a good way to network, it offers some interesting speakers who have some insight to the read/write web that we develop during multimedia programming modules in Tipperary Institute. Among other things, we use O'Reilly electronic publications that point to new Web 2.0 books, an online Safari e-mail alert service and a pile of handsome books bedecked with woodcut animals on their covers. As much as we rely on the O'Reilly empire to guide students on their way to learning about new developments in our internetworked world, we didn't know that O'Reilly (or the conference hosting company CMP) laid exclusive claim to the adjective "Web 2.0" and in fact, we don't support the claim. We have authored dozens of web pages bearing the term "Web 2.0" along with the 79.4 million web pages bearing the term, most without any reference to a registered trademark affiliated to the term "Web 2.0".
So like 20 other people, we will head down to Rebel Country and the Cork Web 2.0 Conference. But we don't expect to find a nametag for Sandra Grayson at the event. She's the general counsel for CMP and the signatory of a written request for IT@Cork to cease using the term Web 2.0. That's a polite request, but one without claim to trademark or registered mark in the European Union. Actually, I doubt that an American organiser would honour such a cease-and-desist letter with a reply.
I'm not a trademark attorney so my opinion counts for nothing more than a little babbling on a blog. But I received threatening correspondence from Intel in 1993 when advertisements I designed for release in Germany contained the word "computer" circled in white chalk. We ignored that letter as well and kept on trading because Intel had not registered a European mark for either an open oval or an oval encircling text. I'm interested in how IT@Cork progresses this matter because most bloggers chattering about it think it's a PR stunt resting on a baseless claim for an unsecured American trademark.