Motorola loses court case and Xoom branding

Tablet sales have been dominated for the past few years by Apple’s iPad, with a number of other tablets flopping in the growing market. The casualty list includes the BlackBerry PlayBook and the Motorola Xoom, which Brad Sams reviewed way back in 2011.

While you might have forgotten the Xoom, Xoom Corporation didn’t. As it turns out, they took umbrage at the Motorola tablet’s name, resulting in a trademark infringement case.

Surprisingly, Motorola Mobility lost despite being a bigger company. The settlement enters both companies into a confidential agreement that the Xoom name will be phased out. You're not likely to see another Motorola tablet wearing the name.

With the agreement to settle being confidential, we’re unlikely to ever find out what else was agreed upon. So, for now, the only casualty we can confirm is Xoom. Could there have been financial repercussions? Probably, but the figures aren’t likely to get out.

For Xoom Corporation, the settlement means they get more-or-less exclusive rights to the name. Nobody else is likely to ever pick up the name. As for Motorola, we’ll have to see what naming system their future tablets bring.

Source: Engadget | Image via TechRadar

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I had forgotten about the Xoom. I think it's a good reminder of the state of tablets and technology. When it came out it flopped, indeed all Honeycomb tablets flopped. It took Ice Cream Sandwich and mostly the Galaxy Tab and Nexus line before any Android tablets had any success against the iPad - and that is mostly down to price rather than anything else.

So when people say the Surface RT has failed, Windows 8 has failed, MS are dead, etc, they should remember the history of Android. And the history of the netbook. MS will work at RT and Windows until it's the leading (or thereabouts) OS for tablets.

As for this legal case, they shouldn't have been awarded this, they are non-competing products.

I didn't

But pirate's took advantage of the "unlimited" space they offered a little too much. I'm guessing it's part of the reason they died out

What? That's just stupid considering how the two are completely unrelated products.

Motorola Xoom - Tablet.
Xoom Corporation - Money transfer.

Should a window manufacturer now sue Microsoft for using the name "Windows"? If this sets a precedent then 50 years from now products will have gibberish names just to avoid trademark infringement...

The word "windows" wasn't trademarked until Microsoft, and its just a generic object, and it's not the name of another company. Xoom is the name of a company and has been around about 10 years before the tablet. Not a good comparison.

Can two companies use the same trademark?

Yes. Because trademark rights are normally limited to particular goods and services, companies that are in very different businesses generally may use the same trademark simultaneously. For example, many different companies own U.S. trademark registrations for the mark United, for such different products as air transportation services, pumps, cash registers, knives, animal vaccines and real estate brokerage services.

Tablets and a money transfer service aren't in the same line of business, hence there would be no confusion and thus both names are legal. But that's just my understanding, I'm not a lawyer so it could be wrong.

CygnusOrion said,
Microsoft shouldn't have been allowed the trademark.

Why not? They have every right so. Just like Nike, Starbucks, Apple, Google, etc. own their trademarks too. People can still use the word windows in their name without being sued, however 'xoom' is not an actual object or word, so they had every right to trademark that unique name. It's first come first serve, just like domains and email addresses.

'xoom' is not an actual object or word, so they had every right to trademark that unique name. It's first come first serve, just like domains and email addresses.

But it's two separate fields so there is no confusion. The way I understand trademark law, if I made a bookcase called "Windows" and sold it, it would be perfectly legal. Microsoft doesn't make bookcases and their "Windows" is a piece of software. However if I made a piece of software and called it "Windows," it would be illegal.

Like I said though I am not a lawyer, so I could very well be wrong.

j2006 said,

Why not? They have every right so. Just like Nike, Starbucks, Apple, Google, etc. own their trademarks too.

Battlestar Gallactica has a character named Starbuck... And I assume they sell action figures and other merchandise around that name. Isn't that a more similar comparison?

Max Norris said,
The word "windows" wasn't trademarked until Microsoft, and its just a generic object, and it's not the name of another company. Xoom is the name of a company and has been around about 10 years before the tablet. Not a good comparison.

The Windows trademark only applies to software.
You can go design and build a car, name it Windows, and MS won't be knocking on your door.