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IKEA Threatens Court Action Against Popular Ikea Hackers Modification Site

A website that uploads useful hacks on modifying Ikea furniture is under attack from the Swedish giants themselves, as they threatened it with court action yesterday. IkeaHackers.net brings together people’s ideas on how to re-purpose and rebuild Ikea furniture, with clever hacks that involve additional pieces or simply rearranging certain parts.

But the Swedish furniture manufacturers are not happy with this reassembling of their flatpack items, and have sent a cease and desist letter to Jules Yap, the founder and operator of IkeaHackers. Miss Yap now has until June 23rd to hand over the URL of IkeaHackers, or face court action.

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Miss Yap posted on the site: “I am crushed…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 eight years. Secondly, I don’t have deep enough pockets to fight a mammoth company in court.”

Miss Yap started the website in 2006 after what she describes as a light bulb moment, when she had conducted a search online for Ikea hacks, and thought it would be a good idea to have them all in one place. She admits that she doesn’t work out all the hacks herself, but allows people from around the world to contribute, and it is this that has made the site the success it is today. Amongst some of the hacks are those that allow you to make an Ikea table into an entertainment stand, or to turn an Ikea lamp into an Ikea headboard.

Miss Yap bought the domain name IkeaHackers.net because she liked the idea of Ikea fans coming together to share their hacking experiences, she says: “…because this site is really about a community of crazy IKEA fans.”

Although Miss Yap is not associated with Ikea in any way, and does not make any money from the furniture company, she does earn money from advertising, as she states, mainly from Google Ads, SayMedia, Technorati ad networks. But this is not her goal, her main reason for starting up the website was to bring together Ikea fans in one place, and it seems that she could possibly be the biggest fan, as her name Jules suggests: “It is a pseudonym I came up with when I started the blog. I was flipping through the IKEA catalogue and saw the Jules chair and thought, why not? So it sorta stuck and those who know me through this site do call me Jules.”

As Ikea have exclusive trading rights to the Ikea name, they are allowed to stop anyone else using that name in connection with any amount of intangible assets, such as: ‘A word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others’, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

It wasn’t Miss Yap’s intention however, to use the brand name of Ikea for profitable use, she says: “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.”

Ikea have stated that Miss Yap can keep the domain name of IkeaHackers.net, but she is not allowed to profit from it, meaning no advertising whatsoever. Miss Yap says:
“It also costs quite a bit to run a site this large. 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!”

In an email to The Washington Post, Ikea said that while it ‘very much appreciates’ fact that there are people around the world who love its products, the company said that ultimately, it has a ‘great’ responsibility to its 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,’ Ikea explained.

Profile Image Courtesy – AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

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