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Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 10:00 am PT (01:00 pm ET)

Jobs cleared to raze mansion as Ive loses domain name battle

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has again been given the go-ahead to demolish his moldering mansion in the Woodside hills. Meanwhile, Apple design chief Jonathan Ive has lost a court battle to stop a crazed fan from using his likeness in a series of domain names.

Jobs OK'd to raze mansion

The MercuryNews is reporting that Steve Jobs can move forward with a decade-long initiative to tear down his 17,250-square-foot Spanish revival mansion in California's Woodside hills following a vote of 6 to 1 in his favor during a local council meeting on Tuesday.

Only Mayor Peter Mason, a licensed architect who has reportedly done historic preservation work, opposed Jobs' motion, saying he's troubled by the number of historic properties in the area that are being demolished rather than restored.

"It's an unfortunate thing that Mr. Jobs doesn't like the house," he said. "It's really sad that we're going to continue to tear down historic resources in this town because they're old."

Last year, Jobs submitted a revised permit application to the council showing it would cost approximately $5 million more to restore sprawling mansion built in 1929 for copper mining mogul Daniel Jackling than it would to raze it and construct a smaller home for his family.

Jobs purchased the blown-out mansion in the early 1980s and lived there — sometimes eating his evening meals on the floor — for about 10 years before renting it out and then leaving it to deteriorate.

Steve Jobs' Jackling House


AppleInsider recently posted an extensive photo gallery of the house taken a couple of years ago by a photographer that stumbled onto the property to find its gates, windows and doors wide open.

Ive loses bid to take over domain names

Meanwhile, Jobs' long-time design chief friend Jonathan Ive wasn't as fortunate in one of his own legal battles this month.

Bloomberg reports that the World Intellectual Property Organization denied his claim to block London resident and fan Harry Jones from using his name in a series of four domain names, including jonathanive.com and jonyive.com.

According to WIPO's domain name dispute resolution process, Ive would have had to show proof that his trademark rights were at risk in order to gain control of the domain names. However, a WIPO panel found that the evidence provided by Ive "indicates that the complainant (and Apple Inc.) do not promote the complainant’s name as a brand or trademark, and therefore do not use it in trade or commerce."

For his part, Jones claims to have first started jonathanive.com to pay homage to the designer as part of a project when he was in college five years ago. Though the site was never meant for profit, it grew over the years to receive hundreds of thousands of hits. Two years later, he came under pressure from Apple to surrender the domain names, as he explained in a recent post to the site:

In April 2006, Apple Inc. spoke to me to ask me to post a disclaimer saying that I had no links with Apple or with Jonathan Ive. I did so here, and Apple Inc. approved of the content of the website.

In February 2008 another Apple Inc. employee got in touch and I was put under great pressure to give up my website. That Apple employee offered me an iPod (and later a Macbook) in exchange. This upset me, as I had spent a tremendous amount of time building and maintaining the website. When I declined the offer, I was told I must name a sales price if I did not want to face litigation. I reacted emotionally to the pressure, and gave a high price of US$ 400,000 to dissuade harassment. I had no desire or intention to sell my website to Apple Inc.

I would be happy to reach an amicable solution with Jonathan Ive. I have told his lawyers this and that I would be pleased to discuss this matter with him in person and to try any process that would allow an amicable settlement of this matter (e.g., mediation). I have received no response to this request so far.

As regular readers will know, I have the utmost respect for Jonathan and am one of his biggest supporters. I just want to be left alone to carry on running this website, and I hope you will continue to enjoy reading it.


As part of his complaint with WIPO’s arbitration and mediation center, Ive claimed that he is a "very private person" who has turned down all sorts of offers outside Apple to design cars, cameras and movie sets.

Wall-e


"My reputation has been established by the work I do, not through self-publicity. I do not usually give interviews … I seek to avoid publicity," he said, noting that the few pieces of notable work he's done outside Apple included "designing a character in a Pixar/Disney computer animated movie “Wall-e” and designing a book cover."

For those interested, the Wall-e character conceived by Ive was Wall-e's girl pal Eve.