As we noted recently, a fairly substantial startup called Huddle (with $14.2m in VC) has been legally pondering the part of the new Google+ service also called Huddle. Essentially, Huddle.com is about group messaging and collaboration in an enterprise sense. Google+’s Huddle is a group texting app available to consumer Android users.
Today Huddle.com released a blog post outlining its feelings on the matter. They also told us their lawyers have sent a letter to Google, but had not yet had a response. They went on to say:
“The Huddle team has worked hard to build its brand visibility worldwide and maintaining this is extremely important. We have contacted Google about this matter, and our hope and preference, of course, is that this issue reaches a timely and amicable resolution.”
Essentially their argument boils down to being around since May 2007, having half of their users in the US, launching at DEMO in the US, being one of the first six apps on LinkedIn’s platform, partnering with InterCall in Chicago, and HP in Palo Alto, and other US partners. Huddle is also in the US, with offices in San Francisco and a London home base.
They don’t say it explicitly, but the meaning is clear: Huddle is well known as company in its own right, both in the US and globally, so back off our name guys.
However, it doesn’t look like Google is going to play ball. Their Huddle app is essentially consumer-focused, whereas Huddle.com is aimed at business. It may be that Google feels it has strong enough grounds to stick with the name.
However, we understand Huddle may have trademarks associated with the word. And, at the end of the day, shouldn’t Google remember what it was like to be a startup once, battling a bigger player?