It just came out that the popular app “Clubhouse” never trademarked their name. Or apparently searched to see if it was available. The problem is…there was already a “Clubhouse” in existence- one catering to sports. So naturally, the first Clubhouse has now accused the second Clubhouse of trademark infringement.
Let’s Back Up Here…
Trademark Infringement happens when one brand uses another brand’s logo or name in commerce and therefore causes confusion amongst consumers. It happens all of the time. And more so when companies don’t run a trademark search before branding. Seriously, just get a comprehensive search done guys. *Sigh*
Anyway, part of owning a trademark is protecting it. It’s actually a duty. So if I trademark Kitten Mittens and then find out someone is using my name, I legally have to tell them to stop. But you can only do this if you own your trademark!
Well, the problem is that we have a situation called “reverse confusion” on our hands. That occurs when a smaller business has the same name as a much larger business and the much larger business has more recognition and brand-power than the smaller business, but the small business has the trademark.
So basically the original Clubhouse is suing the second Clubhouse. But even if they get them to stop using the name, the second Clubhouse is still way more well known than the original. So is it even worth it to fight it?
Like I said, they do have a duty to fight it. But they could also sell their trademark or do a co-existence agreement.
Either way- the moral of the story is- ALWAYS SEARCH FOR YOUR NAME!!! And no, I don’t mean on Google. I don’t even mean on TESS- the USPTO’s search system. I mean, get a lawyer to run a comprehensive search for you that covers everything that could possibly be an issue.
Then you’ll be in the smart business owner club. 😉