Microsoft has decided yet again to play Goliath. The heavy-handed giant is demanding that a small venture-backed company, called XBux, change its name.
Despite the fact that XBux which helps extreme sporting event promoters and athletes find sponsors, is nowhere near the video game world, Microsoft alleges that XBux is infringing on its XBox trademark, according to XBux. XBux, of Redwood City, Calif., says Microsoft originally argued that both companies were in the “entertainment business,” and therefore crossed paths, but backed away from this position. Microsoft seemed to go away for a few months, then came back and deposed XBux’s chief executive, a former venture capitalist named Richard Grogan-Crane.
Grogan-Crane says Microsoft suggested that he change his company’s name to “XBucks.”
We’ve seen this kind of bullying before. Last Spring, Amazon demanded that Alexaholic, a company that was using and presenting Amazon’s Alexa data better than Amazon’s Alexa, itself, change its name. Knowing it stood no chance against Amazon’s resources, the company rapidly complied and is now Statsaholic.
However, Grogan-Crane says that he will not go down gently. He says:
“I think what they are doing is relying on attrition through cost. The cost to defend will run as much as 100k+.. I think they are hoping as a venture backed company, we will fold. We won’t. Their attitude is very aggressive, it’s a very interesting insight into how they see the world ( i.e theirs !!)”
We’ve asked Microsoft to comment and will update when we get a response.
[Update: Microsoft said the following: “Microsoft is opposing XBux’s efforts to register its XBUX trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office because we believe it is likely to cause confusion among customers and dilute the significance of our XBOX trademark. We are presently working through USPTO’s formal opposition process to protect our XBOX trademark, but we remain hopeful that we can resolve this issue amicably.”]
XBux is backed by venture capital firm Artiman Ventures.
[Update: The original entry said XBux was backed by Morganthaler.]
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