Friday, July 2, 2010

DDD iPhone apps violate trademarks?

To date, we have found three iPhone applications that map and direct users to Guy Fieri's diners, drive-ins and dives. One of my regular readers, the developer of one such iPhone app, wrote that attorneys from Scripps have contacted him with a cease and desist.

Scripps, the owner of the Food Network and The Travel Channel, has stated that the iPhone app is in violation of their trademarks. Scripps' attorneys are saying they will take action if the developer does not remove the apps. The developer has contacted two different IP lawfirms; both say the entrepreneurs are not in violation.

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives Locator has been renamed TV Diner.

Lisa Kruger, public relations representative from the Food Network confirmed. "Yes, Scripps has issued a cease and desist order and I am not able to comment on this request further. Should you need anything else, we may need to connect you to our business affairs and legal team."

I submitted a request for more information, "perhaps the business office would like to explain, in laymen's terms, plain English, the reasons, process or motivation behind the cease and desist? It's my belief that fans will just want to understand." At the time of this writing, we have not yet had a reply.

Guy Fieri's public relations representative at The Brooks Group declined to forward a comment from Guy Fieri, and left all comments pertaining to this issue in the hands of the Food Network.

Lisa Campbell, developer of TripleD App, wrote:
I haven't received any communication from Scripps requesting any changes to my website, iPhone or Android apps. My apps don't pretend to be endorsed or have any affiliation with the actual show, we are simply a fan guide. If Scripps wants to destroy the loyal and growing group of people (myself included) who love the show and look forward to watching Guy, then I can't think of a better way. If they are really threatening to shut down fan sites, then it's going to kill the show.

There are a few fan sites out there, and together we've helped build the community they are trying to destroy. For the sake of the show, I hope Scripps let's the fan community continue to live!

And Rick Graner, webmaster at commented:
I think someone on top is scared of this new thing called the Internet and smartphones and is upset that others are doing a better job of marketing & promoting their product then they are.

These people should be embracing fans like us with letters of appreciation and should look to do more joint ventures with us who love the show enough to do the leg work for them.

I'm extremely upset that this is happening because it's always been my stance that I'm helping support their product and making it grow (for free) so any business person who bites the hand(s) that feed them is not really a smart business person.

Dr. Rob McCleland, an iPhone customer who helps me enormously by collecting "Guy Ate Here" spray-paint stenciled tags from several dozen restaurants featured on the show, commented on the iPhone app he uses, "I love that app and visit far more DDDs as a result of having it. I used it to find all six of the Triple D's in Charlotte [North Carolina] last week. -- Sent from my iPhone"

He continued by email:
Both as Business School professor in Marketing and as a huge Triple D fan, I don't get it. The show is popular because of the consumer, the fan. The best marketing in the world is viral. When your fans create maps and blogs and apps, popularity rises... and it costs you nothing!

Do you know of ANY social marketing expert that would even begin to suggest that controlling marketing from a corporate office is more powerful or effective than the viral communication of a tribe? This hurts the brand, the image, and hacks off your loyal consumer base--who have allegiance to the brand and each other.

As a business prof, I'm confused. As a consumer and huge Triple D fan, I'm upset. If 100 people created blogs and 100 more created apps, some of them would make it but most would not. Who would decide? The consumer. If someone's app or idea or blog is better than yours--learn from them! Having big brother threaten a lawsuit... that is so 20th century.

Rob McCleland PhD

I also wrote to four restaurants that have been featured on the show: Grinders in Kansas City, Panini Pete's in Fairhope, AL, Gorilla BBQ in Northern California and Baby Blues BBQ in Southern California. "As a restaurant owner who has seen marked results from being featured on the show, would you care to comment with your related thoughts and perspectives?"

Gorilla BBQ:
Gorilla Barbeque, LLC does not have a comment at this time. We will review our company's information on the aforementioned fan sites and return a comment at a later date.

Stretch, from Grinders:
Hmm why? Can't they do the app? Is there money involved?

At the time of this writing, we have not received replies from the other two restaurateurs.

We can only conjecture that "money involved" may, in fact, be the issue at hand. iPhone applications frequently charge a monthly service fee, which compensate the developers for their time, talents, research and updates. I can attest - it takes A LOT of time to do the job right.

Does Scripps (via list all the restaurants featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives? Yes they do. But they do NOT list them by City, State nor Zip Code. One of the phenomenal phenomena related to the show is the quantity of people who take DDD-inspired road trips on the heels of Guy Fieri.

One can not plan a road trip based on a list of restaurants sorted by air date.

Our opinion, at this point: Scripps, via the Food Network, has missed the ball on social and mobile networking, and now they're running interference on fans and entrepreneurs who've picked up the ball and run it into the end zone, filling a once-void niche in the market. 4 Fans by Fans is the way of Web 2.0.

More updates and further comments as I hear of them.

Related Posts:
Dr. M’s TOP TEN reasons that visiting Triple Ds is a great hobby!
Diners, Drive-ins and Dives iPhone apps
Diners, Drive-ins and Dives drives business up
Fans travel miles to Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
Diner Speak

-> more on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives <-

pass it on,


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DH said...

I post the restaurant names, address, phone and websites in a GPS file, as do other people. This info is Public Domain. Bleep the lawyers!

Anonymous said...

Hi Do not quite understand what is at stake.