February 18, 2009
Trademark Tyranny by Jones Day: We Don't Like Your Stinking Linking Expression
So it turns out that Jones Day, the utterly clueless lawfirm, sued a small real estate reporting company, BlockShopper, for talking about Jones Day the normal way we all do online: with the name of a person or thing, linking to that person or things website underneath the name. The settlement agreement (pdf) says future linking must to changed as so:
... instead of posting "Tiedt is an associate," the site will write "Tiedt (http://www.jonesday.com/jtiedt/) is an associate." (The agreement also calls on BlockShopper to say that the lawyer in question is employed at Jones Day and that more information about the attorney is on the firm's Web site.) Via Wendy David at Slate
The first way is perfectly normal and the way everyone does it online. The altered version required by the suit is just silly. No one does it that way.
Though some do some creative linking expression like so:
Groups like EFF, Public Knowledge, Public Citizen and Citizen Media Law Project tried to file an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief but federal district court Judge John Darrah rejected it. And he denied BlockShopper's motion to dismiss before trial.
The only reason Jones Day "won" is because they are big, litigious jerks who found a judge that doesn't get social norms on the web. 15 years of social norms. Across the world wide web. For hundreds of millions of people.
PS. just in case Jones Day is worried (per their ideas in the suit that linking to them means the public could be confused), or anyone else is wondering, this website is not connected in any way with Jones Day.