An interesting view of IP issues

happy by Pink Sherbet Photography
Potential Confusion Avoided – rPath Video:
[Via Common Craft – Explanations In Plain English –]

Yesterday, we posted about a video by a company called rPath with the title “Cloud Computing in Plain English.” Read about it here.

The blog post came as a result of our unsuccessful efforts over six months to illustrate to rPath that their video, because of the combination of the “in Plain English” title and use of paper-cut outs on a whiteboard, was a source of confusion for Common Craft customers. Because rPath insisted on using legal means to communicate their stance, we chose to take a different route that didn’t involve lawyers.  We simply asked our fans to help us reduce confusion.

Over the course of the last 24 hours, we’ve learned a lot. First, let me say that we couldn’t have imagined the level of your response. We are very lucky to have people around us who feel passionately about helping us protect our brand. Within a couple of hours of the blog post, the message to rPath was clear and as you’ll see below, we have reached a resolution.  We thank you.


So here we have an established organization with a very easily identified image having to deal with a new company using the same approach, possibly causing confusion amongst clients. This is what trademark is supposed to deal with. But in some cases, the look and feel of the approach is also important. In the old days this might have taken a lot of lawyers and money to resolve.

Instead of having to deal with lawyers and pay them lots of money, the community responded to a request for help. It was able to deal with an organization who threatened the health of the community.

Because of the openness and transparency of the Internet, the community took action that allowed everyone else to see what was going on. It then resulted in an accommodation that works for everyone.

All without paying lawyers. While this approach might not work everywhere or every time, it is a nice demonstration of how a connected community can deal with some IP issues.

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