You would think that large hardware manufacturers, such as HTC and Motorola, would dedicate at least a few hours to trademark searches before naming their products and investing millions of dollars into promotional efforts for said products. That would be a fair assumption, right? It seems like the answer sometimes is: not exactly.
Last week at MWC, HTC unveiled 6 new devices, one of which was bearing the name ChaCha (that's one of the Facebook phones). Unsurprisingly, exactly a week later, on February 22nd, ChaCha Search Inc, which owns the trademark ChaCha in the U.S. and Europe, filed a trademark infringement suit against HTC America. Since HTC announced that ChaCha, the phone, would be coming to AT&T in the U.S., I'd say ChaCha Search Inc has a pretty good case here.
In order to have a chance at winning a trademark violation case, ChaCha Search needs to show that both companies have products in the same or similar space. Considering the fact that ChaCha Search has apps for the top 3 major mobile players (iOS, BlackBerry, Android), they are finding themselves in a pretty good position. Of course, the fact that searching for ChaCha already brings up HTC's own page in the first page of Google search results is only going to add fuel to the fire.
As if that's not enough, Motorola Mobility is finding itself under fire as well. Shockingly (/s), a company by the name of Xoom Corporation found beef with Motorola's XOOM flagship tablet that is launching today and yesterday filed a trademark suit of its own.
According to FOSS Patents, Motorola was most certainly aware of Xoom Corp's existence, considering the latter company owns the domain xoom.com. While Xoom Corp's money transfer business is not exactly proximal to Motorola's tablet business, I wouldn't dismiss the seriousness of this case just yet.
Both of the above cases are likely to be settled for a good chunk of change, and it is unlikely that either company would be forced to rename their devices this late in the game.
One can't help but wonder: should the big guys opt in for a bit more originality in picking their product names and at least pretend to put some effort into trademark research? I do hope so - all these trademark violations are surely not making the devices any cheaper.