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The problem that fan site Ikea Hackers ran into with Ikea didn't involve customers chopping up Expedit bookshelves or making headboards out of Benno DVD towers. Ikea Hackers founder Mei Mei "Jules" Yap revealed this month that Ikea had sent a cease-and-desist letter to her, alleging that Ikea Hackers infringed on the company's trademark. The company didn't mind that the blog promoted sawing apart Ikea products—it was the fact that Ikea Hackers ran ads on its site, thus making money off the Ikea name, that it took offense to.
After originally asking that the domain name IKEAhackers.net be voluntarily transferred to Ikea, the two sides were able to come to an agreement that the founder of Ikea Hackers could keep the name if she agreed to stop selling advertising space on the site. But because Yap relies on advertising to support herself and run the site, she chose to move the community to a new domain name altogether. "I wish IKEA could have looked at it from my side of the fence—that the site has generated tons of publicity and goodwill for their brand, which they did not pay a cent for," Yap told the Wall Street Journal.
In an email to the Washington Post, Ikea's spokespeople stated:
We very much appreciate the interest in our products and the fact that there are people around the world that love our products as much as we do. At the same time we have a great responsibility for our customers, they should always be able to trust the IKEA brand. High quality and good service are essential elements of this. Another important aspect is that the many people want to know what really is connected to IKEA – and what is not. For that reason the IKEA name and brand must be used correctly. When other companies use the IKEA name for economic gain, it creates confusion and rights are lost. Therefore we are happy for the agreement between Inter IKEA Systems and IKEA Hackers. IKEA Hackers may continue as a fan-based blog/webpage without commercial elements, just like it started some years ago.Fans of Ikea hacks, stay tuned. Yap is setting up a newsletter to inform readers about her new domain name when her new site launches.
· Why Ikea Shutting Down Its Most Popular Fan Site Is a Giant Mistake [Gizmodo]
· IKEA Fan Site to Stop Selling Ads [WBJ]
· Big Changes Coming to IKEAHackers [Ikea Hackers]
· IKEAhackers.net in Trademark Flap With Store It Pays Tribute To [WaPo]
· Ikea's New Collection Targets Global Hipsters [Racked]