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August 13, 2009

Lego hops off the Cluetrain onto the tracks in front of it, wondering what that increasingly loud sound could be

Jake McKee was the Global Community Relations Specialist at Lego. In his essay in the tenth anniversary edition of Cluetrain (subtle product placement, eh?) he tells how Lego learned to engage with its users, and how this was good for everyone. (Josh Bernoff writes about this here.) Lego was a great example of how a business can benefit by getting down off its high horse and playing in the grass with its customers. Thank you, Jake.

Now Jake is gone from the company, and Lego has become an excellent example of how to be a clueless, frightened laughingstock. A 14-year-old user used Legos to create a stop-motion homage to Spinal Tap, which Spinal Tap projected in concert and wanted to include in its DVD. Lego refused to give permission. As a company spokesperson said: “…when you get into a more commercial use, that’s when we have to look into the fact that we are a trademarked brand, and we really have to control the use of our brand, and our brand values.”

First, I am not a lawyer, but: No. The Lego logo wasn’t shown anywhere in the video, and it’s hard to believe that Lego could win a suit.

Second, No. How customer unfriendly can you get? You sell us something that enables us to create what we want, and now you say you get to control what we create? You won’t let us take photos or videos of what we create? Does Crayola get to tell us we can’t post photos of the inappropriate messages I write with their crayons, because it might hurt their image among their target audience of 3-9 year olds and cretinous participants in political debates?

So:

Top Five Inappropriate Items to Construct out of Legosâ„¢ brand Legosâ„¢, owned by Lego Systemsâ„¢, a Lego Groupâ„¢ company

5. Legoâ„¢ Mindstormsâ„¢ dildo

4. Legoâ„¢ ThePiratesBay ship logo

3. Legoâ„¢ world’s most ineffective and uncomfortable condom

2. Legoâ„¢ official Spinal Tapâ„¢ Mud Flaps

1. Legoâ„¢ giant upraised middle finger

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January 20, 2008

When IP goes bad: Berkman retaliates against cyberlawâ„¢ & Apple patents ordering from a menu

Item #1

A cyberlawyer named Eric Menhart has trademarked “cyberlaw,” according to slashdot.

In response, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law is changing its address from cyber.law.harvard.edu to eric.menhart.harvard.edu, will rename its annual conference to the EricMenhart conference, and is petitioning Google to do a search-and-replace on the 75,400 pages containing harvard berkman cyberlaw.

All your EricMenhartâ„¢ are belong to us.

[Legal notices: I don’t speak for the Berkman Center. And one of those jokes was Ethan Zuckerman‘s.]


Item #2

20070291710

Inventors: Fadell; Anthony M.; (Portola Valley, CA)
Correspondence Name and Address:

BEYER WEAVER LLP
P.O. BOX 70250
OAKLAND
CA
94612-0250
US

Assignee Name and Adress: Apple Computer, Inc.

Serial No.: 485142
Series Code: 11
Filed: July 11, 2006

Abstract

A processing system is described that includes a wireless communication interface that wirelessly communicates with one or more wireless client devices in the vicinity of an establishment. The wireless communication interface receives a remote order corresponding to an item selected by at least one of the wireless client devices. A local server computer located in proximity to the establishment generates instructions for processing the remote order received from the wireless communication interface. The local server computer then passes the processing instructions to an order processing queue in preparation for processing of the remote order.


Yes, Apple is patenting using a cellphone to order food.

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