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SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill tells me that his photo sharing site got a TiVo nastygram:

Karen Kramer from TiVo tried to Cease & Desist one of our customers today. We have a feature called PhotoRank that lets anyone (SmugMug customer or not) rank a photo by clicking thumbs up & thumbs down icons.

Apparently, TiVo thinks they own all use of the concept of a thumbs up being positive and a thumbs down being negative. Shaking in my boots (ha!), I went to the USPTO and discovered that they do, indeed, have trademarks on 'Thumbs Up' and 'Thumbs Down'.

But they're very narrow trademarks, specifically for interactive television and remote controls:……

How exactly does SmugMug have anything to do with interactive television or remote controls? I wonder if Digg or any of the other bajillion sites using thumbs up / down are getting C&D'd too?

Valleywag will ask the founders of Digg and Consumating tonight, if Valleywag is still sober enough to talk.