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HTC sued for "ChaCha" trademark infringement

Posted: , by Ken N.

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HTC is being sued by ChaCha Search Inc., a question and answer search engine, regarding HTC's upcoming Facebook-centric device. The HTC ChaCha, which has nothing to do with the search engine, will be the first to include a dedicated Facebook key. ChaCha (the search engine) claims that the name could be potentially confusing for consumers.

ChaCha Search Inc. has filed for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. Southern District Court of Indiana, and will be seeking an unspecified settlement for damages. ChaCha Search has held a trademark on the "ChaCha" name since 2007. As ChaCha Search isn't exactly a household name, we have to wonder about the validity of the suit. After all, wouldn't the HTC ChaCha actually increase unintentional web traffic to their search engine?

Then again, ChaCha Search has a primarily mobile presence. Via SMS, they offer specific answers written by various experts, and reap profits from the accompanying advertising. So the fact that it's the same market might make the suit more valid. If ChaCha were a dance academy, it wouldn't be an issue.

MocoNews has speculated on the potential success of the suit, based on the similar suit between the Xoom Corporation and Motorola Mobility, regarding the Motorola XOOM. In that case, the Xoom Corporation made the mistake of filing for an injunction only a day before the XOOM's release on Verizon. As the HTC ChaCha isn't expected until later this Spring, HTC might be more inclined to change the name of the device, or simply offer a reasonable settlement.

source: Wireless Week via mocoNews

  • Options

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 07:55

1. Dom (unregistered)

Gotta seize an opportunity for name recognition when it's there. Most people have probably never heard of ChaCha.com, and now some of them will.

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 09:47

3. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)

Um...with the amount of Android phones that come out...I'm sure more people will know what ChaCha.com is than ChaCha the cell phone...most people just ask for a "Droid"...

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 09:45 1

2. ATTCallCenter (unregistered)

This is an easy fix, because clearly the theme with these phones is a latin theme. Add another cha in there, lawsuit avoided and everyones happy.

HTC ChaChaCha

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 11:55

4. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)

ChaCha.com is just using this as an opportunity to profit off of one of the biggest phone manufacturers in the game. Its not about ethics b/c if it were they would be more interested in the possible exposure that they would receive by being similarly named. a lawsuit is a more definite route to a payday for ChaCha.com which i've never heard of. can't say i blame them tho...if its infringement, its infringement. if someone hits my parked car and barely knicks it im most definitely trying to get PAID!!! time to Jerry McGuire up HTC & show them the money.

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 12:01

5. DashTKash (unregistered)

wut the heck is chacha.com? im not buyin this fone but theyre suin the whole company coz if its name? SCREW YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! coz i need an htc fone

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 12:44

6. snowgator (Posts: 3604; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)

Actually, in this day and age where there are more lawyers then money in the system, I am truly shock the mobile industry hasn't had to deal with this up to now. Get in the headlines, get your name out there, maybe get a free extra couple of bucks you haven't earned. Nope, cannot figure out why Lawyers have bad names anymore.

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 18:47 1

7. shimmyx20 (Posts: 280; Member since: 03 Mar 2009)

A lot of these trademark lawsuits are frivolous but HTC failed on this one. Why would you choose to name your phone after a company that has a (primarily) mobile presence?

It's not like ChaCha is an unknown company. They have reached 17 million unique visitors to their site and have answered over a billlion questions since their inception (primarily via SMS, mind you). They've even passed Google in terms of text-based mobile search. They're basically the free version of KGB.

I don't think monetary damages are warranted, but hopefully this will force HTC to change the name of the phone to something better.

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 22:59

9. snowgator (Posts: 3604; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)

Come on ... I totally believe in protecting what is yours- but the name CHACHA is this web sites and so no one else can use it? REALLY?? A few years ago, Alamo rent-a-car tried to sue to keep the Alamo Bowl from "infringing" on their name too. Fox News attempted to sue to keep "Fair and Balanced" off the title of a book. And now Cha-cha belongs lock stock and barrel to this web site? I hope the makers of the actually dance are still around. They might have a case.

posted on 26 Feb 2011, 20:29

8. ZzFDKzZ (Posts: 3; Member since: 26 Jan 2011)

Wow chacha.com is still alive? I remember 4-5 years ago they were paying people to work for them from home. Made $300 in a month.

posted on 27 Feb 2011, 13:46

10. messiah (Posts: 438; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)

Its a dance. Seven hundreds of thousands of dancers make reference to the chacha, they are not talking about the search engine nor incidentally a phone. The search engine has no case. If anything the judge should rule the search engine made a bass choice of its name. They mights as well have called it 10% cream.

posted on 27 Feb 2011, 13:49

11. messiah (Posts: 438; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)

Seven was several. My bad.

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