Uber Takes On Beautician/Barber Over Her BeauBer Mobile App

from the portmandon't dept

There's a perception among some that the forward-looking tech companies throughout the country are more permissive in intellectual property concerns than other industries or marketplaces. And perhaps there is some truth to that. But certainly this is not without exception. For instance, you can bear witness to Uber going after a beautician over her stylist-booking app, called BeauBer.

Carolina Vengoechea, 45, tells The Post that Uber has demanded she give up the name of her beauty salon app, called “BeauBer.” But she has refused, arguing that the name is the combination of her two job titles, beautician and barber — and has nothing to do with the San Francisco-based company.

Vengoechea says she has already turned down multiple settlement offers from the $60 billion Uber, which is hell-bent on destroying trademarks that include its name. Unless the company backs down, she said, she will be forced to face them in court next year.

The fact that the portmanteau barely contains the word "uber" if you squint at it really hard is hardly any reason for Uber to have turned this into a trademark dispute. Let's just go down the list of reasons why this is ridiculous. First, these two companies are in wildly different industries. The fact that both have an app doesn't change that. Second, there is little potential for actual public confusion, given that the name in total and branding for BeauBer is quite different. Finally, the idea of Uber going after a sole proprietor in this way is ironic in the worst of ways.

Fortunately, Vengochea appears to be the rare small business owner with a backbone when it comes to trademark bullying.

“I've already spent money on BeauBer,” Vengoechea said of her app. “I feel like settling is just giving up. I know I’m not doing anything wrong. Why do I have to settle just because they have more money than me?”

Others seem to agree.

“Here, it appears that Uber has gone outside their normal zone of necessary protection and have opposed a mark which should not reasonably be opposed,” Steven Gursky, a partner at law firm Oshlan, said. “Perhaps being ‘uber’ wealthy allows them to be overly aggressive.”

Which is a shame, really. It would be rather nice if Silicon Valley companies could lead the way in having a different attitude when it comes to intellectual property issues. Apparently, though, money does in fact corrupt all things.

Filed Under: carolina vengoechea, trademark
Companies: beauber, uber


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2019 @ 7:42pm

    Ublob's Lawyers Are Bored and Looking for Entertainment

    'nuff said.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mononymous Tim (profile), 29 Aug 2019 @ 7:51pm

    Apparently they haven't stopped trying to run people over.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 29 Aug 2019 @ 8:59pm

    Confusion

    Justin Bieber better sue. I thought he was behind the BeauBer app.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2019 @ 11:22pm

    UberScheiße

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 30 Aug 2019 @ 12:07am

    So, straight from the Monster playbook, then - take word that's already existed for hundreds of years, use it to build a company in a very specific marketplace, sue anyone who uses anything remotely like the word to describe something that has nothing to do with that marketplace...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 1:05am

    Can Uber Lyft her trademark?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Courageous coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 5:30am

    In that case...

    Perhaps sUBARu should sue Uber for trademark infringement. The phonetics are identical, and they are more closely in the same market.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 5:52am

      Re: In that case...

      Perhaps sUBARu should sue Uber for trademark infringement.

      If Subaru was a US company they probably already would have.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 7:39am

        Re: Re: In that case...

        Indeed. When I worked for a domain name registrar, we had quite a few complaints come in over names that ended in "ebay." Naturally, people who registered domains related to certain waterways got a few complaints, but we really didn't see how a name containing "chesapeakebay" infringed (for example).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 12:03pm

          Re: Re: Re: In that case...

          However, I can definitely see "cheapskatebay" infringing....

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 2:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: In that case...

            LOL I just had to check to see if there really happened to be a "cheapskate bay" somewhere, but there doesn't seem to be. Oh well.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nuroman (profile), 30 Aug 2019 @ 6:05am

    I hope they don't sue me...

    There's my Potato growing app, "Tuber".

    And my Cork collecting app, "Suber".

    And my Minecraft fan app, "Cuber".

    And my Oil Change locator app, "Luber".

    And my Allergy Diagnosis app, "Guber".

    And my Stupid Lawsuit Identifier app, "Fubar".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 6:31am

    And here I thought Uber was attempting to become profitable. I guess I was wrong. Meritless litigation is a sure way to suck money out of your pocket to no good end.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    z! (profile), 30 Aug 2019 @ 10:00am

    Uber simply hasn't offered enough money. If it's worth litigating, the "trademark" is probably worth at least $1m, so that's a good starting place for negotiating. Oh, and her legal fees in addition.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 10:22am

    Fear

    So it's probably just that Uber doesn't want anyone to realize that having a cool name name and idea doesn't automatically make you money, so they want to make it look like they have dibs on being a MacGrUber

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    urza9814, 30 Aug 2019 @ 1:31pm

    How the heck do you guys pronounce "Beauty"???

    "The fact that the portmanteau barely contains the word "uber" if you squint at it really hard..."

    Or if you actually read it as a word rather than just looking at the individual letters...

    And from TFA:
    "And she is quick to point out that the 'u' in the name comes from 'beauty,' not 'uber.' So it is silent and therefore doesn’t sound like Uber."

    I would typically pronounce "beauty" as "Be-U-tee", so "beauber" sounds a heck of a lot like "Be-uber". How the heck does this woman say it where the U is silent? "Bay-tee"/"bay-ber"? "Bow-tee"/"bow-ber"?? The only pronunciation that makes sense to me is "Be-you-ber", which definitely contains the "ou-ber" of Uber.

    Her argument seems strong enough already, but adding in this kind of absurdity just makes it look weaker IMO...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 2:01pm

      Re: How the heck do you guys pronounce "Beauty"???

      I guess she's saying the first part sounds like pew.... but with a b... so think, pew-per, but with hard b sounds instead of a p. so ... like boo-bur ... or boo-ber which sound close to booger... maybe kleenex should get in on this too since it's all freekin' ridiculous..

      Yup, I'm gonna confuse someone that drives me around with someone that helps me look good... yeah.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2019 @ 5:20pm

      Re: How the heck do you guys pronounce "Beauty"???

      I would typically pronounce "beauty" as "Be-U-tee",

      I pronounce it with two syllables instead of three as byü-tē.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 30 Aug 2019 @ 6:38pm

    YouTubers beware!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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