Mike should lay off TechCrush — and Dead 2.0

Update 2:

Apparently Mike and TechCrush have come to an agreement — TechCrush has changed its logo and everyone is as friendly as could be. According to a post at TechCrush:

We had contact with Michael Arrington on a possible trademark infringement with Techcrunch, but we settled the matter quick and amicably. I got to know Michael as a decent and professional guy. Thanks Michael.

Mike has posted a chronology of events here. Still seems kind of pissed at Stowe Boyd.


Mike Arrington has responded in the comments section of this post, and says that he doesn’t want to go after TechCrush, but that his lawyer has suggested he might be in for trouble down the road if he doesn’t defend his trademark. As I mentioned in my response, trademark lawyers always say that kind of thing — it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it. I think maybe the disclaimer is the way to go. As for Dead 2.0, Mike says he loves it… he’s just not sure it’s the kind of thing an executive with a Web 2.0 startup should be doing. On that, he might just have a point. I still kind of hope it continues though.

Original post:

There’s a nasty mess brewing in the blogosphere, boys and girls — once again, the dark shadow of lawyers and trademark infringement is passing across our fair land (Ed: knock it off with the Lord of the Rings vibe already). It seems that TechCrush, a new site that promised to act as an antidote to some of the boosterism in the Web 2.0 sphere, has been smothered in its cradle by threats of legal action.

And who might those threats have come from? Well, the name of the site is a play on the name TechCrunch, which is the hub of Mike Arrington’s blog-publishing empire. Stowe Boyd apparently sparked the idea for the site when he said it would be nice if someone went back to take a look at some of the startups that Mike and his team write about so glowingly, to see if they made the grade or not. According to Stowe, Mike said that his lawyers were raising red flags about the trademark issue.

As Stowe notes, this has much the same flavour as the O’Reilly Web 2.0 trademark brouhaha, in which the publishing and conference firm sent a “cease and desist” letter to a conference that had the gall to use the term Web 2.0 in its name. In that case, however, O’Reilly was just concerned about brand confusion. What is Mike concerned about? A little criticism?

He certainly doesn’t seem too crazy about whoever is behind the blog known as Dead 2.0. Speaking of which, I think The Skeptic should remain anonymous — with or without Nik Cubrilovic’s help — if it allows him to keep taking shots at TechCrunch and other bubble-boosters. Food critics for newspapers get to remain anonymous so they don’t have to worry about the egos of restaurant owners while doing their reviews, so why not bloggers? My M-lister friend Kent Newsome has some thoughts here (and a great Neil Young reference in the title), and Shelley Powers has a good point too.

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