Hanginout, Inc. which describes itself as a San Diego based technology company filed suit against Google this morning over its “hangout” service for trademark infringement, federal unfair competition, and common law unfair competition.
In addition to damages Hanginout is asking a judge to grant a temporary, preliminary and permanent restraining order against Google to prevent them from using their Hangout product and name.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California (case no.13CV2811).
According to the lawsuit Hanginout alleges:
Hanginout, Inc.has a trademark for the term “Hanginout” for a service very similar to Google’s Hang Out Service
Here are the more interesting parts of the suit:
that has developed, produced, owns, and commercialized mobile-video based communication products.
Hanginout was formally founded in 2011, but developed its products at least as early as approximately 2009.
Hanginout developed an interactive video-response platform with real- time analytic solutions under the brand HANGINOUT. The platform analyzes website demographics, usage, and audience interests. The platform enable users to more effective develop, promote, and sell their brands by engaging, educating, and entertaining their customers.
The HANGINOUT application is a novel social-media application that gives users the ability to easily build and publish personal video profiles complimented with a video publishing tool to create mobile video content.
Utilizing the HANGINOUT application, a user can explore, find and follow interesting people, celebrities and personalities, ask them questions and receive instant personal video responses.
The HANGINOUT application also gives users the unique ability to field questions from anyone in the application, record and publish responses, and share them from anywhere at any time.
Hanginout filed for U.S. trademark applications on July 12, 2012.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office assigned Hanginout Application for the HANGINOUT word mark for the HANGINOUT design mark (collectively HANGINOUT marks).
The pending trademark applications for the HANGINOUT marks covers the following goods and services: “Computer application software for mobile devices for sharing information, photos, audio and video content in the field of telecommunications and social networking services” in International Class (“IC”) 999 and “Telecommunications services, namely, providing online and telecommunication facilities for real-time and on-demand interaction between and among users of computers, mobile and handheld computers, and wired and wireless communication devices; audio, text and video broadcasting services over the Internet or other communications networks, namely, electronically transmitting audio clips, text and video clips; electronic messaging services enabling individuals to send and receive messages via email, instant messaging or a website on the Internet in the field of general interest; providing online forums for communication on topics of general interest; providing an online forum for users to share information, photos, audio and video content to engage in social networking” in IC 038.
On May 15, 2013, Google officially launched its new messaging platform titled “Hangouts.”
Google’s “Hangouts” is a social-media based video-chat service that enables both one-on-one and group chats. Hangouts can be accessed through the Gmail or Google+ websites, or through mobile applications available for Android and iOS.
On April 26, 2013, Google filed an application to register the mark “Hangouts,”
The Plaintiff alleges that Google’s “Hangouts” mark is nearly identical to Hanginout’s HANGINOUT mark in both appearance and sound and mirrors Hanginout’s products
Google’s “Hangouts” trademark application sought to cover nearly identical mobile-video based communication products
Google continues to aggressively market its Hangouts product.
Google’s Hangout mark is identical or substantially similar in sound, appearance and meaning to Hanginout’s HANGINOUT marks.
Google has used the HANGINOUT marks or a confusingly similar variation of them, in connection with the sale, offering for sale, distribution or advertising of goods and/or services.
Google’s wrongful use of the HANGINOUT marks constitutes trademark infringement of Hanginout’s HANGINOUT marks, has caused significant confusion in the marketplace, and is likely to cause both confusion and mistake, along with being likely to deceive consumers.
Google’s infringement of Hanginout’s marks was willful and with knowledge that such its use of the “Hangout” mark would or was likely to cause confusion and deceive others.
Hanginout is further entitled to disgorge Google’s profits for its willful sales and unjust enrichment.
Hanginout’s remedy at law is not adequate to compensate for injuries inflicted by Google.
Thus, Hanginout is entitled to temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief.