Lowdown app allows users to tell friends they’ve arrived by pressing a “HERE” button – something that Nokia believes will confuse the public given their own HERE range. It seems that the button was stylised in somewhat the same way as well.
In a public statement, Nokia wrote: “The company 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.”
In a 104 page letter to the company, Nokia lawyers said: “Your use of the HERE sign is likely to deceive members of the relevant public such that they will believe your business is connected with or part of our client’s business, when that is not the case.
“This amounts to misrepresentation that will cause damage to our client’s goodwill in the UK and amounts to passing off.”
According to Lowdownapp CEO David Senior, it’s like a real-life David and Goliath scenario. He’s also accused Nokia of acting “like a corporate bully”.
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Nokia gave Lowdown an ultimatum, stating that they had up until 10 February to rebrand, something which the company suggested wasn’t much time at all.
“All they needed to do was call us up, tell us about Nokia HERE, then ask us to please change the name,” Senior said. “Why didn’t Nokia call us and negotiate with us, before sending us a 104 page letter of this level?
“It’s ludicrous – people say, ‘I’m here,’ to announce their arrival, which is why we have it as a service. As a small startup trying to deliver value to users we don’t think a multi-billion dollar company will be affected by this.
“Life is hard enough without Goliath’s squashing Davids – maybe they should focus on creating a better mapping service than Google or Apple than squishing a minuscule business.”
However, Lowdown has agreed to rebrand and remove all mentions of HERE in the next few months. Senior explained that the company plans to call the app “This app lets people know you’ve arrived” and the HERE button will be changed to say “I AM HERE”.
“An honest mistake has been made and one will act as swiftly as possible to correct, but the level of heavy handedness is somewhat appalling when aimed at such a small and relatively young business,” a Lowdown press release said.
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