13 September 2017Trademarks

WeWork sues UrWork over name

WeWork, a company that provides shared workspace for businesses, has sued China-based rival UrWork for trademark infringement and unfair competition.

The complaint was filed yesterday, September 12, at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, and accused Beijing-headquartered UrWork of “attacking” the WeWork trademark ahead of UrWork’s upcoming launch in New York.

WeWork was founded in 2009 and provides businesses with various types of work spaces and office services. It has over 165 locations across the US, with 39 in New York.

UrWork has “approximately 60” locations across China, according to the complaint.

The Chinese company announced plans to launch in New York in partnership with Serendipity Labs, a company which offers similar services.

“Given UrWork’s use of so deceptively similar a name for substantially similar co-working services, consumers looking for co-working space and services will be confused into believing that defendants’ UrWork New York City location is affiliated with WeWork,” the complaint said.

WeWork owns several trademarks for its name including US trademark registrations numbers 4,015,942 for use in connection with the leasing of office space, and 4,453,874 for providing co-working facilities.

UrWork was also accused of copying the design of the WeWork logo, both of which have the initials of the companies in a circle, with WeWork’s logo being white and UrWork’s being orange.

The China-based company was also accused of imitating WeWork’s mobile app icon, in which both logos are a black square with rounded edges with the initials of the company’s inside.

“UrWork has now embarked on an aggressive campaign to register its name as a trademark around the world in every class of goods and services (including for goods and services that it likely has no intention of offering),” WeWork claimed.

It stated that the UrWork name “must be enjoined now” to prevent WeWork from “usurping” the goodwill WeWork has created.

As well as the injunction, the has asked the court to order UrWork to abandon two of its US trademark applications. WeWork is also seeking a transfer of profits, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

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31 October 2016   Multinational shared workspace company WeWork has successfully recovered 40 domain names in a dispute at the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Arbitration and Mediation Center.