Earlier this week, Swedish flat-pack furniture manufacturer Ikea dealt a massive blow to the long-running fan blog IkeaHackers.net. According to a blog post published by founder Jules Yap, the site was issued a cease and desist order in March, alleging that the website’s name infringed on Ikea’s intellectual property rights.
IkeaHackers.net, for those of you who might be unfamiliar, is a site that posts how-to’s and instructions for DIY furniture made from various different Ikea products. Because nearly all of the items in Ikea’s catalog can be assembled with the same fasteners, it’s possible to combine pieces from different kits to create new furniture. Nearly all of the designs are user-submitted, and over the past eight years, the site has amassed a sizable following.
Speaking with BBC, an Ikea representative explained the reasoning behind the cease and desist letter, saying: “When companies use the Ikea name for economic gain, it creates confusion and rights are lost. We feel a great responsibility to our customers and that they can always trust Ikea .. Many people want to know what really is connected to Ikea, and what isn’t. And we think that people should have that right.”
In the cease and desist letter, the company asked IkeaHackers.net to voluntarily transfer its domain name to them, adding of course that if that doesn’t happen, they reserve the right to take any legal action necessary against Yap.
After much negotiation, Ikea eventually agreed to let Yap keep the domain name IkeaHakckers.net, so long as all advertising was removed from the site. Yap, despite being extremely reluctant to give up the site she’s been running for eight years, complied with the request simply because she doesn’t have “deep enough pockets” to fight a legal battle with such a large corporation.
So in a nutshell, this is the end of IkeaHackers. The site is required to take down all of its ads by June 23, which will effectively cut off all revenue the site generates to keep itself up and running.
But all is not lost. According to her blog, Yap is currently in the process of moving to a new domain, so despite the fact that IkeaHackers will soon be dead, the site’s community will soon have a new site to go to. There’s no word on when the new site might go live, but for the time being you can sign up for email updates here.
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