So yesterday I ran a correction (here) to an item I’d done previously about IBM’s new big commitment to Facebook. (See that story here.) This was in response to IBM’s PR team complaining that I’d used the term “collaborative innovation” when in fact what IBM hopes to achieve is “innovative collaboration.” I promptly posted a correction and said that I regretted the error.
Now IBM is demanding a correction to the correction plus a retraction of the original item and an apology. And IBM’s legal team has gotten involved. They say the phrase “innovative collaboration” is trademarked by IBM and that any use of the term must be cleared by IBM. They want us to pay them for using the term without permission. We asked how much and they said the figure is proprietary and we’ll have to sign NDAs to find out. They’re filing a secondary complaint which argues that even if their trademark is deemed invalid, we still violated IBM procedure by publishing proprietary information without IBM’s permission. Also, they allege the proprietary information we published contained “numerous factual errors,” although they won’t tell us what they are unless we sign NDAs.
Our lawyers believe this is payback for us dropping the Power processors and switching to Intel. Jesus, it’s only Monday and I’m exhausted already.