Earlier this year, Swedish mobile payments company iZettle sent a cease-and-desist letter to scrappy UK startup Settle, which is behind a mobile money app currently being trialed with a select few Birmingham-based merchants.
Settle considered battling iZettle in court, but as is often the case, their lawyers advised them that the cost (“£100,000 or more”) and distraction would be outlandish compared to simply steering clear and changing the name.
Droplet’s other co-founder, Andy Smart, tells me changing the name to Droplet was a tough and long process, but in the end they feel like it’s strengthened their brand.
Here’s what iZettle’s letter said:
When deciding on the likelihood of confusion of two trademarks, an overall assessment of the visual, conceptual and aural similarities are made. We find your mark similar in all three aspects.
The name Settle seemed to fit the UK startup’s offering really well, and it’s easy to argue that iZettle’s trademark wasn’t being infringed in any way.
In fact, I daresay the Swedish company acted somewhat like a bully here. I contacted iZettle for comment, and a spokesperson gave me the following statement:
Being a startup ourselves we always encourage entrepreneurship, including innovation in the payments space. In this case, unfortunately, their very similar company name – in combination with also being in the same industry- risked confusing both our and their users.
We believe that changing their name will benefit the both of us and we wish them all the best with Droplet.
What’s your take?
(Via Hacker News)