Android co-founder Andy Rubin recently announced his upcoming Essential smartphone, but his company is now facing legal troubles over alleged copyright infringement.
Essential vs. Essential
In August of last year, Spigen registered a Class 9 trademark for the term "Essential." Class 9 trademarks are used in reference to computer and technology products including smartphones and accessories. The trademark itself is rather broad, but, as of right now, Spigen appears to only be using it for batteries, chargers, and a line of headsets though it could, in theory, apply to a smartphone as well.
A letter from Spigen's attorneys, which can be seen here via Android Police, has alleged that Rubin's use of the term "Essential" is a violation of its trademark due to the fact that it could cause confusion among consumers and lead them to believe that the Essential smartphone is being produced by Spigen. For this reason, Spigen has demanded that Rubin's company "cease and desist from any and all uses of marks including the term 'Essential.'"
The aforementioned cease-and-desist letter points out that Rubin's company had its trademark application denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the reasons cited by Spigen's lawyers. After the failure to obtain a trademark for the word "Essential," Rubin's company filed a trademark for "Essential Products" that was also denied on the same grounds.
Spigen's legal team is demanding that Rubin's company stop using the term "Essential" and have warned it is prepared to take further action if they do not receive a response by June 15.
Given the fact that Rubin's company had previously been denied trademark requests, it would be surprising if its legal team did not expect some sort of letter from Spigen. That being said, it is unlikely that this will affect the launch of Rubin's Essential smartphone. Cases such as these are often settled out of court and it is likely the two parties will come to some sort of agreement.
If they cannot agree, then the matter will be for the courts to decide and if they were to rule against Rubin's company, it could be a major setback. Rubin's company could be forced to rebrand the Essential after spending so much money and time building hype for the new smartphone.