Google Hangouts infringes trademark, says US company Hanginout

Hanginout started the lawsuit while its trademark application is still pending

Google's video-chat service Hangouts wilfully infringes on the still pending trademark of Hanginout, the company said in a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California on Tuesday.

Hanginout, based in Carlsbad, California, makes a video profile app for iOS. The 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.

The company was founded in 2011, but said in the court filing that it has been developing its products since 2009.

Google Hangouts was launched in May this year and offers a messaging and video chat platform that allows users to send instant messages, share photos and talk to each other via live video.

"Google's 'Hangouts' mark is nearly identical to Hanginout's HANGINOUT mark in both appearance and sound," the company said in the filing, adding that Google therefore infringes on Hanginouts trademark.

Hanginout's trademark application is still pending though. It filed for U.S. trademark applications on July 12, 2012. Google applied for the Hangouts mark in April 2013, according to the filing.

Google's application was however suspended in July by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) because there was "a likelihood of confusion" with Hanginout's pending trademark, the USPTO wrote. This may lead to the bar of the registration of Google's Hangouts mark, said the USPTO, adding that all action on Google's application was suspended until the Hanginout mark is either registered or abandoned.

Google's use of Hanginout constitutes willful trademark infringement, has caused significant confusion in the marketplace and is likely to deceive consumers, Hanginout said in the complaint.

Moreover, Hanginout said, Google also committed acts of unfair competition because it "purposefully attempts to heighten the likelihood that consumers will be confused" and because an inaccurate appearance of affiliation was created.

It therefore asked the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction from trademark infringement and unfair business practices by Google as well as an amount of damages to be determined on trial. It also asked the court to treble the damages for willful infringement and unfair competition, and demanded a jury trial.

Google did not respond to a request for comment.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

3 marketing mistakes to overcome when courting prospective customers

Marketing that urges respondents to ‘buy now’ is a little like asking someone to marry you on your first date. At any time, only 3 per cent of the market is looking for what you’re selling, so the chances of your date randomly being ‘The One’ is pretty slim.

Sabri Suby

Founder, King Kong

Why are we dubious about deep learning?

The prospect of deep learning gives those of us in the industry something to get really excited about, and something to be nervous about, at the same time.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Why you can’t afford to fail at CX in 2019

In 1976 Apple launched. The business would go on to change the game, setting the bar for customer experience (CX). Seamless customer experience and intuitive designs gave customers exactly what they wanted, making other service experiences pale in comparison.

Damian Kernahan

Founder and CEO, Proto Partners

Red Agency YouGov Galaxy Report, February 2019 Predictors Study. https://redagency.com.au/re...

Vanessa Skye Mitchell

DNA-based marketing: The next big thing?

Read more

RIP holden

Max Polding

Marketing professor: For Holden, brand nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

Read more

Where does the claim that 2 million Australians have tested come from ? Anecdotal information suggests that this is way off the mark.

David Andersen

DNA-based marketing: The next big thing?

Read more

Thank you for the info , being part of a digital marketing agency in kerala , this proved handy and get to know with upcoming trends. htt...

Dotz Web Technologies

Predictions: 9 digital marketing trends for 2019

Read more

So who then is correct? The Research or The skilled Digital people.

Anene

Report reveals Australia faces digital skills shortage

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in