Monday, March 1, 2010

What happened?

On Saturday evening, I received an email concerning a perceived trademark infringement on the part of the Wordle web site. In the spirit of "better safe than sorry", I took the site down right away.

Because of the unbelievable ruckus that ensued on Twitter and in the blogosphere—even the WaPo picked up TechCrunch's story—I quickly found myself in possession of meaningful information and legal counsel.

Unfortunately, I can't give you any details about exactly what the facts are, and what I'm doing about them. I can tell you that a very kind, warm, and competent IP lawyer is helping me.

In a way, I feel like I've won my own little version of the DARPA Network Challenge. Instead of finding 10 red balloons, I found a handful of lawyers (and ex-lawyers, of whom there seem to be many). Can I get DARPA to write me a check for $40K? There have got to be defense applications of Wordle, right?

I cordially thank the many people who wrote to me offering support, and who used various social media to discuss this spot of bother.


MG said...


R said...

so glad to have you back wordle!

Willem Karssenberg said...

Hello Jonathan,
just a note to tell that so many people in the Netherlands are glad your site is back up and running again!
Keep up the good work!

sara g said...

Glad you are back! Lots of people in Israel are happier now, and hope the problems are solved asap!
sara g

mjsalovaara said...

Hear, hear! In Japan too, glad you're still around.

Brian Bridges said...

Bravo. One more win for social networking. Long live Wordle.

Debbie Harris said...

It must feel wonderful to see what an impact you've made. I know that I felt as if I had lost an old friend. It was definitely Twitter-worthy! Glad to see you've gotten some assistance.

Anonymous said...

Glad that wordle is up and running again. I agree that it was interesting how social media spread the word about what was going on. As if you don't already know, wordle has become quite popular with teachers for different prereading and vocabulary activities. While there are some adequate substitutes for use in a pinch, it is great to have the original and best word cloud generator back up and running.

George Edwards said...

Jonathan, It must be gratifying to have created a tool and a web site that people around the world find using it stimulating and interesting.

Personally, I find it addicting, in the best possible way.

Thank you for taking your time and talent to give the world the gift of Wordle. And thanks to IBM for allowing you to pursue your focus.

Unknown said...

Jonathan a wonderful product you have developed. Keep up the good work

bj said...

OK, I'm sending the "first find all the lawyers" tagline to some lawyers who need pats on the backs occasionally.

I'm glad you found representation, and reminded people that fair use/free speech does have a posse.