We don’t know if Google conducted a trademark search and found the “Hanginout” mark used in connection with “Computer application software for mobile devices for sharing information, photos, audio and video content in the field of telecommunications and social networking services”. Nevertheless, they proceeded with using and filing a trademark application for “Hangouts” because, presumably, they thought there was no likelihood of confusion.
This is not the first time Hanginout, Inc. has attempted to prevent a “Hangout” mark from being used by a competitor. On December 3, 2012, Hanginout, Inc. filed with the Trademark Trial & Arbitration Board, a Petition to Cancel the registration of the mark “Hangout” by Hangout Industries, Inc. Due to fact that defendant failed to appear in the case, an order of default was issued and the petition for cancellation was granted.
Does this spell the end for Google’s Hangouts brand? It is too early to tell; Google has yet to respond to the complaint. However, this is certainly shaping up to be an uphill battle for the tech giant. You can read the complaint below.