January 23, 2022

5miles sues eBay in trademark dispute over mobile app

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By John Council, from Texas Lawyer

E-commerce businesses come up with so many similar smartphone apps that consumers can easily become confused.
That’s why the owners of 5miles have sued the online auction behemoth eBay in a Dallas federal court for trademark infringement. 5miles allege they first came up with a logo and an app that connects buyers within five miles.
The background to the dispute in The Third Stone Co. v. eBay International, which was filed Feb. 25, is as follows.
In early 2014, Dr. Lu Laing, founder of The Third Stone, developed a mobile app aimed at a location-based secondhand marketplace. The app was named 5miles to suggest its local appeal.
Third Stone registered the trademark for a 5miles logo, a stylized white number 5 on an orange background, with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in May 2014. The Dallas startup launched the app the next month, eventually making it available in major cities across the country. It now has been downloaded 5.6 million times and listed goods and services totaling over $1 billion.
eBay later acquired and re-branded an app called Close5, which is also aimed at a location-based secondhand marketplace. It launched Close5 in November 2014. Its logo is also a stylized white number 5 over a red background. Both apps 5miles and Close5 do the same thing—connect buyers and sellers within five miles, according to the complaint.
“Defendants have advertised and promoted the Close5 mobile application under the Close5 marks, at times using the tagline ‘Everything within 5 miles’ both in advertising and within its Close5 app. The combination of this tagline with the Close5 marks so resembles the 5miles marks that there have been instances of actual consumer confusion,” according to the complaint.
“Third Stone’s rights in the 5miles marks are senior to eBay’s rights in the Close5 marks,” the complaint alleges.
“eBay has infringed on our trademarks with their continued use of the Close5 name, app icon and its ‘Everything within 5 miles’ tagline, and we intend to vigorously enforce our rights,” said Rick Cantu, 5miles general manager. “eBay’s use of Close5 has caused repeated instances of confusion in our marketplace. Our hope is that, as we continue expanding our presence in markets across the U.S., this action will protect not only the significant startup investment in our 5miles brand, but also members of the public who want the advantages of our 5miles app.”
A spokesperson for eBay did not immediately return an emailed request for comment.
For more on this story go to: http://www.texaslawyer.com/id=1202750828917/5miles-Sues-eBay-in-Trademark-Dispute-Over-Mobile-App#ixzz41ZRPVJKE

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