Oh, I see … it's short for Web 2.O'Reilly

"The best way to make yourself Web 2.0 is actually to expose your data in ways that let other people re-use it."

Tim O’Reilly, May 25, 2006

How ironic is it that O’Reilly Media and its conference partner CMP are using the threat of litigation to restrict the use of "Web 2.0," a term that describes a set of technologies designed to enhance collaboration and open access to information? Early this week, the publisher sent a cease and desist letter to IT@Cork claiming the Irish non-profit’s upcoming "Web 2.0 half day Conference" was in "flagrant violation" of O’Reilly’s trademark. "CMP has a pending application for registration of Web 2.0 as a service mark for conducting live events, namely trade shows, expositions, business conferences and education conferences in various fields of computer and information technology," the C&D reads. "Your use of the Web 2.0 mark without our authorization or consent, directly violates our exclusive rights. Selecting this title can only be viewed as a deliberate attempt to trade off the good will of CMP and cause confusion in the market." A bit petty and heavy-handed, no?  Sure, it’s true that  O’Reilly created the term and popularized it two years ago. Sure it’s standard business practice to protect service marks, even ones as vacuous as Web 2.0. But to send legal correspondence to a non-profit that’s evangelizing it at a conference to which O’Reilly Media founder Tim O’Reilly was himself invited to speak, with no effort put toward an amicable solution? Utter stupidity.

As one poster wrote in the comments on the O’Reilly site: "Sesame Street are also suing to stop use of "the number two" and "the letter O"……who owns "point"?"


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  • Get your own “Tim O’Reilly, Original Web 2.0 Asshole” graphic here:


    It’s Creative Commons licensed and all, feel free to use it all you like!

  • Eric

    Being a non-profit and having invited him are irrelevant. And providing a solution would be a joke.

  • Perry

    Sun does 🙂 Remember the “We’re the dot in dot com” slogan?

  • Erin

    Who owns “point”?

    It’s Sun… remember? … they “put the dot in dot com”


  • T. Jennings


  • Joey

    Who owns “point”? Harry Nilsson, of course!

    Check out http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/44/point.htm among others.

  • Stupid is as stupid does.

  • mousenuts

    Just tell that idiot O’Reilly that an update is needed, fixing a few obvious bugs (like his service mark). Available for all to freely use starting next week… Web 2.01!!!

    (Damn, maybe I should obtain the rights to that service mark myself)

  • geoff

    In the search for the owner:

    Durban South Africa has had a Point Road for the last hundred years; named after, er, Mr.Point?

  • Minodier

    This letter is most likely a pressure from CMP, than originaly proposed by Mr O Reilly himself! It shows how it is difficult to escape “greed” from business associates! If they believe they can build a business out of Web 2.0 they should start thinking about what they need to offer, not stealing what is now a generic term!

  • billygoat


    Sorry Tim, it probably isn’t even your call. That belongs to CMP.imps.