Friday, February 25, 2011

Just as the Motorola Xoom launches, Motorola has been hit with a trademark lawsuit over the name of the device, the first Honeycomb (Android 3.0) laden tablet. Honeycomb is the first tablet-optimized version of Android.

The lawsuit, reported by Florian Mueller on Feb. 24 or Xoom Launch Day, comes via online payment company Xoom Corporation. It's unclear why the firm would not have taken any steps long ago, as the Xoom name has been publicized for quite some time.

According to the report, Motorola must believe that the Xoom Corporation trademark applies only in other markets than ones that are relevant to tablet computers. In October 2010, Motorola filed its own Xoom trademark registration.

Mueller does not believe this is a "troll" lawsuit, meaning strictly about money. He said,
Xoom Corporation was founded in 2001. In its two most recent rounds of financing, which took place in 2007 and 2010, it received a total of $53 million of venture capital from three world-class venture funds (Sequoia Capital, which invested in Apple in the 1970s -- what an irony -- and more recently in Internet businesses like AdMob and LinkedIn; New Enterprise Associates; and Fidelity Ventures).

A company of that nature and stature is less likely than a smaller one to file a suit against a major player like Motorola only to make a quick buck in exchange for dropping a pointless complaint. It's possible that Xoom Corporation really wants Motorola to rename its tablet computer and wouldn't settle even for a check over several million dollars. Xoom Corporation may want to defend its exclusive use of that brand.
That said, Xoom Corporation is seeking triple damages:
Motorola's alleged trademark infringement is described as "willful and intentional conduct" for which Xoom Corporation believes to be entitled to "treble damages".
It's possible that everything will be settled out of court. In fact, when Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007, it had to negotiate with Cisco to gain rights to that name. That case also saw Cisco at first sue Apple over the name, and the two companies later came to terms.

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