In a move that may seem unsurprising to some, Lowdown, maker of HERE for iPhone, has been asked to rebrand the app and materials or face legal action from Nokia over the use of the HERE trademark.
In a letter seen by TNW, Nokia says that Lowdown’s use of HERE infringes on a trademark owned by mapping company since 2012. A Nokia spokesperson told TNW:
“Nokia has been using the HERE brand in relation to location based apps and services since 2012. Its use by Lowdown for an app which offers location based services risks confusing customers and impacting on our brand, so we’ve asked them to use something else.”
The letter said that Nokia “is keen to reach an amicable solution that will eliminate confusion and protect the valuable goodwill and reputation in the Registered Trade Marks whilst allowing you a short (but nevertheless reasonable) period of time to rebrand your HERE software program under a name that does not infringe the Registered Trade Marks or amount to passing off.”
Lowdown’s HERE app allows users to notify colleagues that they have arrived for a scheduled meeting, thereby using geolocation features. The company also had plans to implement a feature that allowed users to announce their arrival at any location, thereby, in Nokia’s eyes, encroaching further into its HERE mapping territory.
Rather than take the fight to the courts, Lowdown’s CEO David Senior told TNW that it would likely acquiesce to Nokia’s demands for it to stop using the trademark on its apps, website, press releases or anywhere else.
“The letter is rather scary for a little London based startup with very few funds, and spending time on this could kill us and Lowdown,” Senior said. “We’re a team of 4 doing the work of 40, so we’re likely to be good little Davids and do what Goliath tells us and remove HERE from the App Store and all associated PR and Social [channels].”
Senior added that the company will be seeking advice about how best to remove HERE branding from the in-app Lowdown function before the one month deadline is up.
“We were totally unaware of Nokia HERE… Nokia are a falling giant flexing tired muscles. But have more legal eagles than a little startup.”
Scary or unwelcome as it may be, the letter likely isn’t a complete surprise, given that it’s an issue that was raised in an earlier interview with TNW.
Unfortunately for Lowdown, that’s not the end of its potential legal woes; a digital health app on iOS called Headspace has also lodged a complaint against the company, this one relating to its use of an orange circle in its logo for the app.
This letter, however, is less aggressive in its position; it’s more of a warning shot stating that the company “reserves its position in the event that it becomes aware that confusion between the products is taking place.”
Senior told TNW that the company is considering the best course of action to take with respect to this issue. Headspace had not returned a request for comment at the time of writing.
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