Essential, the company that Andy Rubin started for his Essential Phone concept, has come across its first legal snag in the form of a cease and desist letter from accessory maker Spigen. Spigen’s lawyers say that the ‘Essential’ trademark belongs to them, as a sub-brand used for its battery packs and other smartphone accessories.
Spigen says that if Essential goes ahead with using the mark, it will “cause confusion.” As such, they have sent an initial letter notifying Essential of the situation. Spigen also noted in the letter that Essential’s trademark application was denied by the USPTO not once, but twice, for this same reason.
The letter says that if Essential doesn’t respond to the cease and desist letter by June 15th, Spigen is “prepared to take any and all actions to protect Spigen’s marks.”
There could be a settlement coming, since the Essential name is critical to Andy Rubin’s hardware – Essential Phone and Essential Home. It’s not clear at this point whether or not Essential has a back-up plan for this eventuality. They certainly knew about the trademark situation, which is clear from what their letter says. So, it’s very likely that they’ve been preparing for this.
The clash has come at a bad time, when the company is preparing to ship out the first of its Essential Phone units. That means a name change is practically impossible at this point. Fortunately, the device itself carries no external branding, because Rubin wanted it that way from the beginning. But not being able to use the Essential mark on anything is most definitely a snag the company needs to free itself from.
Will they pay up? That’s a question that remains unanswered at this point. However, Essential does have solid investor backing so it won’t be a question of money, most likely. They’ve come so far with Essential Phone and Essential Home that they’re not going to back down now. So, either it’s time for a legal showdown, or time to pay the piper.
Source: The Verge