Hangouts Vs Hanginout: Is Google infringing on some trademark?
Perhaps the most popular video chat app in Africa today is Skype (i stand to be corrected), but with Google having its tentacles in everyone’s smartphone especially if you are an Android user or own a Gmail email account, am sure you have realized that Googles apps are always in your face. At the end of October we saw a tremendous update on most of our Android phones when Google decided to replace SMS with hangouts as well. This of course attracted a lot of legal attention to Hanginout, based in Carlsbad, California, that makes a video profile app for iOS. According to them, Google’s Hangouts willfully impinges on the still pending trademark of Hanginout, the company said in its filed lawsuit.
The company was founded in 2011, but said in the court filing that it has been developing its products since 2009 and their app allows users to interact via recorded videos. They can find and follow people and celebrities, ask them questions and receive instant personal video responses.
On may 15 2013, Google launched Hangouts an app that offers a messaging and video chat platform that allows users to send instant messages, share photos and talk to each other via live video. It is clear that Hanginout filed it’s trademark applications on July 12, 2012 and Google applied for the Hangouts mark in April 2013.
Hanginout is now complaining that. Google’s use of Hanginout is a willful trademark infringement, has caused significant confusion in the marketplace and is likely to deceive consumers — well i was never confused personally cause the names are clearly not the same. Now Hanginout has asked the court to make the damages three times as much for willful infringement and unfair competition, and demanded a jury trial.
Is Hanginout trying to squeeze some dimes out of Google, or do they have a real case here?