While I hate when these things happen to stellar open source projects, it does serve to highlight how hollow and completely vapid vendor claims to "do what our customers want" can be. It also shows how strong products like Zotero have become in a world where open source leads to greater innovation. ISI has failed to innovate with their stranglehold on the bib management software market for years now, so it is clear with this action that the heat is on. This recent salvo in the proprietary vs open source wars puts the highly innovative and functional Zotero in one corner and the old-school, no longer interesting Endnote (and other ISI bib management products) in the other corner. The fact that a company would be desperate enough to go after an open source project like this (are you listening Blackboard?) says more about the fragile business strategy of the vendor than anything else. I blogged many moons ago about the failure of ISI to make their products work well against the RefWorks onslaught, so this comes as no surprise at all. When I spoke with the head of ISI Research Software over a year ago there was no interest in making their software work more seamlessly with the competition and this struck me as a very short-sighted approach. Why should the courts and markets protect laziness and bad software, rather than good design and innovation? The customer will use what works for them, so let them decide, not the courts.
I've said it before and will say it again - Don't buckle in to this kind of legal threat George Mason - open source development and the creativity and freedom it inspires needs to continue. Let me know if you need funds for your legal defense, because you are working for all of us, whether we appreciate it or not.