Users have been known to complain that Tumblr, the immensely popular microblogging site, is not always as communicative as it might be about the periodic outages it has suffered. Zach Inglis put up a site called which gave users a clue whether an inability to connect was just them, or the whole system being down. There was little likelihood that it would be confused with an official site, especially since it took a bit of a mocking tone toward the platform giant (and had no revenue). Lawyers representing Tumblr nonetheless fired off a nastygram demanding the site’s removal.

The story has a rare happy ending, though. Tumblr sent a second letter saying that the cease and desist letter had been sent by mistake [Daily Dot]:

We deeply apologize for our mistake. Our legal department very recently started using a third party vendor to assist us in pursuing trademark infringers and, due to an error in our new process, your domain was mistakenly caught in the cross-fire.

To paraphrase Eric Turkewitz, when you outsource your trademark enforcement, you might just find yourself outsourcing a chunk of your customer goodwill at the same time.


  • Your morals also.

  • There was an interesting decision on this subject last year when a relatively routine conference was outsourced to a per diem attorney in Staten Island. The problem was that the per diem then gave the case to another per diem (that the attorney of record knew nothing about), without the instructions for what to agree/disagree with at the conference.

    The court ruled the attorney of record was bound by the conduct of per diem #2, who agreed to things that the attorney of record was busy objecting to.

    Outsourcing legal work can be a perilous business…the story and decision are here: