Here’s a quick update to yesterday’s story about the legal fight between the makers of two similarly named products — location service Pinwheel (which was built by a new startup from Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake) and photo-sharing app Pinweel.
A New York court granted a preliminary injunction against the use of the Pinwheel name, basically siding with Pinweel’s argument that it came first, and that consumers might confuse the two products. At the time, Fake declined to comment on how she would respond, since it’s an ongoing legal matter. However, the Pinwheel.com site now redirects to 2bkco.com — 2bkco being the name of Fake’s actual startup — and it no longer mentions the Pinwheel brand. (There’s also a message saying that the service is “down for scheduled maintenance”.)
Fake and 2bkco could still win in court, but at this point, I’m guessing they’ll just find a new name for the app. Why go through a long legal battle? After all, Pinwheel was still in private beta testing, so it should be early enough to rebrand without causing any real harm. (Marketing Land’s Greg Sterling makes a similar argument.) Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure the 2bkco site is just a placeholder, as the name doesn’t sound like it was ever meant to be a consumer brand — for starters, how do you pronounce it?
Caterina Fake is a business woman and entrepreneur. She currently serves as Chief Product Officer at Hunch. She is a boardmember at Etsy.com. She co-founded Flickr along with Stewart Butterfield in 2004. After being acquired by Yahoo!, she ran the Technology Development Group at Yahoo, founded Yahoo’s Brickhouse, and ran the Hack Yahoo program.