IKEA slammed for shutting down popular fan site

IKEA has come up in the press for threatening legal action on popular fan site IkeaHackers.

Started eight years ago by Kuala Lumpur-based fan Jules Yap, the site runs on the contributions of Ikea consumers globally, submitting how users assemble their furniture in new ways.

Yap had begun selling ads on her site and later received a Cease and Desist (C&D) letter from the agent of Inter IKEA Systems B.V., saying that the site had infringed upon its intellectual property rights. Yap was asked to voluntarily transfer the domain name IKEAhackers.net to them, failing which IKEA would reserve the right to take any legal action.

After negotiation, she was allowed to keep the domain name IKEAhackers.net on the basis that the site remained non-commercial.

“I agreed to that demand. Because the name IKEAhackers is very dear to me and I am soooo reluctant to give it up. I love this site’s community and what we have accomplished in the last 8 years. Secondly, I don’t have deep enough pockets to fight a mammoth company in court,” said Yap in her blogpost.

“Needless to say, I am crushed. I don’t have an issue with them protecting their trademark but I think they could have handled it better. I am a person, not a corporation. A blogger who obviously is on their side. Could they not have talked to me like normal people do without issuing a C&D?"

"IKEAhackers.net was set up in 2006 and truly not with the intent to exploit their mark. I was a just crazy fan. In retrospect, a naive one too. It is not an excuse but that was just how it was when I registered IKEAhackers. Over the last 8 years the site has grown so much that I could not juggle the demands of a full time job and managing IKEAhackers. It also costs quite a bit to run a site this large. Since IKEA® does not pay me a cent, I turned to advertising to support myself and this site."

"Now by June 23rd, I would need to take down the ads, not earn any income and still advance their brand on this site. Wonderful!” she added.

Yap has announced that she will be moving to a new domain in time to come.

The issue has received much attention in the global press, with many decrying IKEA’s move.

Here’s some of the chatter on Twitter regarding the issue:

IKEA released this statement, according to Gizmodo:

“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.”