The Traklight Blog

Explore the world of intangible assets and IP with guest blogs, business owner interviews, and more.

Blogging + IKEA = Intellectual Property Infringement

Chances are you or someone you know has purchased and assembled furniture from IKEA. It’s a Herculean task to attempt solo, and if you undertake it with a friend or loved one, your relationship may not survive the strain. Those of us who have come out the other end of the building process sweaty and filled with impotent rage may wonder how anyone might have anything beyond a grudging respect for IKEA, to say nothing of love. But the company has more than its share of passionate fans in online communities, spreading their love of pre-packaged furniture across the internet. Unfortunately, one blogger who runs a site devoted to the Swedish furniture giants and their products may find herself in an intellectual property infringement legal bind that will take more than an allen wrench to solve.

IKEA sent a cease-and-desist letter to the founder of, demanding she transfer the domain over to the company. The site shows users how to transform and repurpose furniture and other goods from the store into new and innovative products. was started eight years ago by a Malaysian blogger using the pseudonym Jules Yap, and has cultivated a considerable following amongst fans looking to share their IKEA hacks with fellow enthusiasts. Traffic on the site grew to the point that Yap was able to sell advertising, allowing her to keep maintaining the site as a full time occupation. It was this commercialization of the site that seems to have finally placed the site in IKEA’s legal crosshairs, prompting the company to take action.

Read More

World Cup Fans Carded For Trademark Infringement

Every four years, people around the globe gather in front of their televisions to watch the World Cup. National pride swells, and old rivalries are renewed (with the aggression hopefully limited to the pitch). Countries like England, Italy, and Mexico take a pause from being world leaders and become the Three Lions, Gli Azzurri, and El Tri (respectively) for four weeks. Fans relive memories of head-butts and Hand(s) of God, and tell tales of bygone heroes with names like Pele, Eusebio, Beckenbauer, and Cruyff. It wouldn’t come as any surprise to find that fans around the world might be posting pictures of flags or even the World Cup logo to social media in their fervor. But fans doing so may soon find themselves in the crosshairs of soccer’s governing body, and dealing with the repercussions of trademark infringement.

FIFA has asked Twitter to send takedown notices to over 100 users who have used the logo of the 2014 World Cup as their profile’s avatar image. Twitter policy states that in instances when there is a “clear intent to mislead others through the unauthorized use of a trademark,” they will suspend the account and notify the user. However, in instances where Twitter determines that the user account “appears to be confusing users, but is not purposefully passing itself off as the trademarked good or service,” Twitter will allow the user the chance to clear up any potential confusion. While it seems likely these offenders are simply enthusiastic fans, FIFA has proven itself zealous in defending its brand, even in its commercial partnerships.

Read More

Disney's Relaxed Attitude Concerning Intellectual Property Protection

Disney is taking a more relaxed attitude toward intellectual property protection. One of the problems with modern internet technology, such as YouTube, is that it has granted people more power to engage in copyright infringement and intellectual property theft. Filmmakers, for instance, have often found themselves running ragged chasing down instances in which unauthorized clips from films have been used, even as part of a parody or a homage.

Read More

Protecting Your Intellectual Property with Trademarks on Hashtags

You don't often hear about branded hashtags and trademarks going together. But as the hashtag grows more in prominence in pop culture, it seems it's become a form of intellectual property (IP). Forbes recently pointed out how companies are using them everywhere for branding purposes, including placing hashtags on products as much as they do using them on Twitter or Facebook.

Read More

Godzilla Celebrates 60 Years of Brand Protection

Since his beginnings in 1954’s Gojira, Godzilla has become one of film’s longest-lived and most loved monsters (to the extent that monsters can be loved). In the 60 years since his inception, he has managed to withstand attacks from the world’s military might, battles with fellow monsters, and poorly conceived remakes. He has proven resilient enough to find his way back to the big screen this summer to spark the imaginations of yet another generation. But his greatest nemesis over the decades has not been King Ghidorah or Mechagodzilla, but rather copyright and trademark violators.

Read More

Website Re-Launch Countdown

“You’ll never get anywhere if you try to make something absolutely perfect. Especially with software,” Mary said to me as I struggled to understand why my idea couldn’t be easily incorporated into the new version of our website. It took me a minute to realize that she wasn’t telling me my idea was a bad one, just that I needed to focus on the bigger picture: our website re-launch. It was a lesson learned with Traklight’s previous re-launch and was described in our June 29th, 2013 blog titled, “It Takes a Village to Re-Launch a Website.” She instead encouraged me to jot my thoughts down on a V3.1 Wishlist (which, as you can see with the image to the right, I did) to be incorporated as a feature in the future.

We go live in just a few days (4 to be specific), and we’re all working harder than ever to piece the last few details together. I have been through a site upgrade in the past so knew what I was in for, but it caught me off guard. Again. Not just the exponentially increased work load, but everything that comes along with it: coming in early and leaving late, long hours that inevitably lead to the thousand-yard stare as you struggle to focus, over-caffeinating, onset anxiety from excess of said caffeine…

Read More

Attend SXSW Mentoring. Get a PSCF shirt.

As a session at last year's SXSW V2V event in Las Vegas, NV, Traklight CEO Mary Juetten asked her audience of entrepreneurs if any of them thought they didn't have Intellectual Property (IP). Of course, if you have been reading the Traklight blog and understand that 100% of businesses have IP, then you see that this question was a set up. No one should answer yes. But just as Mary was about to commend everyone and tell them they were correct for not raising their hands, there was one man who shyly raised his hand. 

Read More

3 30-day Hubspot Blog Challenge Challenges Overcome

We all recognize the writer in movies who just can't seem to find the words. Sitting at their typewriter, composing a love note and spilling their undying love, ripping page after page from the typewriter in increased frustration. Or the poet turned rockstar looking to compose their next big lyrical riff, burning both ends of the candle night after night to come up with a million dollar chorus.

When it comes to blog writing, many can appreciate the anxiety that it causes and the series of questions that follow when asked to contribute content to, say, a company blog. "What if no one reads what I write? What if no one understands my point? How can I possibly write a blog - I'm a terrible writer!"

I'm happy to share that our Traker team truly rallied together to contribute content for me to regularly post. That being said, I wanted to share our top three take aways, and also help you increase your blogging frequency as well with some tips and tricks. Of course, as always, be sure the content you're sharing is yours, or is cited properly. IP infringement is a big deal and not something to trifle with (I mention this to remind you to never share  without consent).

So what did our Trakers learn in creating regular content? And how can you apply these lessons with your company? . . . 

Read More

Facebook and FiftyThree Square Off Over Commonplace Word “Paper”

On Tuesday January 30th, social media giant Facebook unveiled their highly anticipated news-reading app called "Paper.” The app is, in many ways, a new alternative user interface for Facebook itself. The first section within the app will be the user’s own Facebook newsfeed followed by themed sections with content on a variety of topics. Users will also be able to post their own stories. Many are touting "Paper" as the best Facebook app ever. There's just one problem: the name.

FiftyThree, a New York- and Seattle-based app maker, has claimed that they hold the rights to the name "Paper by FiftyThree." The app maker filed for trademark in May of 2012. According to a New York Times report, FiftyThree reached out to Facebook asking them to refrain from using the name "Paper" for their new app. However, according to FiftyThree chief executive Georg Petschnigg, Facebook apologized for not letting them know sooner and were moving forward with their launch. As a result, FiftyThree filed for a trademark on the name "Paper" on January 30th, the same day the new Facebook app launched.

Read More

A Few of Our Favorite FREE Resources to Help You Avoid IP Infringement

If you’re in charge of composing boat loads of content on a regular basis, you understand the stress of coming up with content that is original and your own to avoid infringing on other’s copywritten or trademarked materials. As someone who has the responsibility to share new content amongst our social media platforms, blog, etc., I can empathize with you! The temptation of simply copying and pasting an image from a quick Google image search into your blog to spice it up, or the allure of using someone else’s music as a part of your grand idea to come up with a viral video campaign, can be frighteningly easy.

I’m here to tell you – don’t do it! You have more than a handful of available resources at your disposal, but these well kept secrets can be hard to come by.  That being said, I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you! Enjoy!

Read More

Four Startup Must-Haves That Relate to IP

Saying the word “startup” conjures up images of Silicon Valley smarty-pants rocking flip-flops and essentially living at their desks, working their tails off to IPO or drum up rounds of funding. While this picture I’ve painted might be the reality for some, in truth, startups are any new business, determinedly trying to get off the ground and obtain customers. In those whirlwind times, there’s a lot to consider, and unfortunately, intellectual property (IP) concerns can fall to the wayside—or worse, not be a concern at all. After all, most startups aren’t even sure what IP entails. Here are four startup must-haves that relate to intellectual property:

Read More