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Jeeves settles dispute
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The Independent, 13 February 2000

Jeeves settles dispute

Dan Gledhill

Ask Jeeves, the American internet search engine, has settled its legal dispute with the estate of P G Wodehouse, creator of the the unflappable butler.

AP Watt, the literary agent which looks after Wodehouse's estate, had threatened legal action against Ask Jeeves for using the character's name without permission. But a settlement has now been reached which will allow the search engine to continue to use the Jeeves name. Neither side would disclose details of the settlement.

Linda Shaughnessy, literary agent for the Wodehouse estate, said: "Ask Jeeves Inc and the trustees of the Wodehouse estate have reached the outline of a settlement whereby Ask Jeeves Inc will continue to use the name Jeeves in connection with its business activities. There is no legal action."

Ask Jeeves certainly had plenty to lose from a protracted legal dispute. The Nasdaq-listed company was created two years ago, is valued at more than $3bn (£1.88bn), attracts 2m visitors a day and employs 350 staff at its headquarters in Emeryville, northern California.

A British version of the site will soon be available after Granada and Carlton, the UK media groups, announced a joint venture with the Ask Jeeves's American owners to bring the concept over here.

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