One of French e-retailer Early Flicker's websites has been emptied of content, and another replaced with a letter pleading with Anonymous that the company only meant well in registering a trademark for the hacker group's iconic logo and slogan.
Twitter user Asher_Wolf picked up on the trademark application (PDF) earlier this week, but it was first filed with the Institut National De La Propriete Industrielle (INPI) in France on 16 February 2012 by Apollinaire Auffret from Early Flicker, encompassing both the Anonymous logo and slogan. The company sold a variety of Anonymous-themed T-shirts.
In response, Anonymous released a video with someone dressed in the Guy Fawkes mask synonymous with the group, talking in a synthesised voice and vowing to take down any business that Early Flicker has on the internet until the registration is revoked and the company has made a public apology.
Anonymous appears to have followed through on those threats; at the time of writing, one of the company's websites, eflicker.fr, appears to be completely empty, and the company's other website, pickapop.fr, has been replaced with a letter to Anonymous, written in French, from Apollinaire Auffret.
According to an English translation of the letter, Auffret claims that the logo was only registered because it is used in the company's own products, and that it wasn't seeking to charge others for using it.
"The vendor must verify that these images are free for use [or] risk legal difficulties. So I regularly checked for any filing of these models until several months ago (February 2012), when I had the idea to place them myself," the owner stated.
"These were then guaranteed to be usable in a free and legal [manner] ... for all! Since the tabling, no ban has been established for their use, and not one cent has been claimed through copyright."
He said that his company is surprised at the "madness" that has happened since the application came to light, but said he is working with Anonymous to resolve the problem.
"I [am currently communicating] with one of the support committees of France Anonymous; at their request, I will do what they please in the interest of the movement," he said.
"Site activities will resume immediately [once we have] resolved the dispute."
The news comes as Anonymous recently stepped up its attacks in Australia. Last week, the group exploited vulnerabilities with hosting company Melbourne IT to deface Queensland Government websites and leak customer data from AAPT.
Anonymous said that it released AAPT's customer data in protest of the government's proposal to require internet service providers (ISPs) to retain customer data for up to two years in case the data is needed for criminal investigations.