Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The UBER War

Uber, the name invokes the image of the ride sharing company, in a major chunk of the metropolitan population of the world. The services are also available in the city of New York, where there already exists a Trade Mark in the name of Uber Inc., a graphic design company.

As a matter of fact, the ride-sharing company holds two registrations in the names of UBER and UBERCAB for the Classes 9, 38, 39 and 42. The company has a reputation which now raises questions against the popularity of the Senior Trade Mark held by Uber Inc. There are many registered “UBER” marks spread across the spectrum of the classified goods and services.  

Consumer confusion in the domain of Trade Mark law derived from the second user, capitalizing on the goodwill of the early user. On the other hand, “reverse confusion” is the first user loses its’ control over the reputation and goodwill, where the consumers grow to believe that the senior user’s goods are associated with that of the junior user. The existence of the junior and the senior Trade Marks for the name “UBER” can now become an exemplar for Reverse Confusion.

The UBER Inc., for graphic design, could have proceeded with the claims of trade mark dilution, if only the mark would have had been famous. The junior user being the famous one is actually only to the disadvantage of the design company. Another issue which has created tension amongst the two companies, is the fact that the graphic design company has a listed telephone number, while the cab providers do not; misguiding many consumers of the ride sharing company to the senior user of the mark. It is only a matter of time before it unfolds if the two companies are pitted against each other in terms of counter claims. 

- Bagmisikha Puhan