I have much love for Wordle. I’ve used the text cloud generator dozens of time for use in presentations, TechCrunch posts and random stuff ever since I discovered the tool.
But as of yesterday, the application is no longer available, and the website only displays the message copied above. In a notice and a blog post, Wordle developer Jonathan Feinberg says he’s been forced to take the service offline due to a trademark claim against his use of the word “wordle” and states that he’s looking for pro bono legal advice from IP lawyers to fend off the infringement claim.
Update: the free service seems to be back online now – meanwhile there’s some sort of Twitter campaign going on dubbed #savewordle
A quick search on Trademarkia reveals that there is in fact a live trademark for ‘Wordle’, owned by Mark Jordan Koeff, a photographer from Orange County, CA.
Any intellectual property lawyers out there who want to provide the developer with some free counsel? The tool is loved by many and it would suck for the service to have to be rebranded, considering the name awareness Wordle has built up over the years. There are similar tools out there, e.g. WordItOut, but they’re not as good as Wordle.
Feinberg, a programmer who works at IBM Research, can be reached on the e-mail address shared on the Wordle placeholder website and his personal site or via Twitter.
(Via @jackschofield / @digitalmaverick)