Ikea, image from Shutterstock

IKEA backtracks on legal take down of fan site for furniture hackers

News: IKEA has said it will rethink legal action against fan site IKEA Hackers, which publishes user modifications of furniture bought from the flat-pack giant.

IKEAHackers.net, which was started in 2006 as a blogspot webpage by a self-confessed "crazy fan" under the pseudonym Jules Yap, is the best known furniture "hack" site and has published over 3,000 IKEA customisations.

Last Saturday its founder published a post on the site detailing the fall out from a Cease and Desist letter served by an agent of Inter IKEA Systems B.V., which claimed that the blog was infringing on the company's intellectual property rights.

"In that letter they asked that I agree to voluntarily transfer the domain name IKEAhackers.net to them, failing which they reserve the right to take any legal action it deems necessary against me," she wrote.

Following negotiations, the furniture giant agreed to let Yap keep the name on the condition that the site did not run any adverts. But Yap said the site could not be sustained without advertising income.

"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," she wrote.  "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!"

"I don’t have an issue with them protecting their trademark but I think they could have handled it better," added Yap, who said she was looking at options for moving the site to a new domain. "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?"

The news sparked an outpouring of support for the site from users as well as the wider public, with many pledging to write to IKEA's customer service team to express their disappointment.

One commentor who claimed to work for Ikea said that staff at the company had possibly used the IkeaHackers site as a source of inspiration for new products.

This morning Yap published an update saying that IKEA had responded to public outcry and wanted to reopen negotiations about the future of the site.

"IKEA would like to dialogue with me to find a new way forward. What does that mean? I don’t know yet," said Yap. "But I am hopeful, though my guard is still up."

"From our conversation, I do not have to make any changes to IKEAhackers (including the ads) till we settle on an agreement."

A spokesperson from IKEA told Dezeen that the company deeply regretted the situation.

Echoing a statement published on IKEA's website, the spokesperson added that it had "never been our ambition to stop their webpage."

"On the contrary, 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," said IKEA.

"We are now evaluating the situation, with the intention to try to find a solution that is good for all involved."

Top image of Ikea courtesy of Shutterstock.