The Fight Over the Uber Name Never Ends

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When most people think of Uber, they think of the ride-sharing company. But other companies also go by the name, including a cloud computing company based in Tallahassee, Florida.

That company, Uber Operations LLC, is suing the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company, Uber Technologies Inc., for allegedly infringing its trademarks and causing consumer confusion between the two companies.

Uber Operations—founded in 2004—says it’s received thousands of phone calls and emails, as well as a number of legal notices and court documents, meant for Uber Technologies—which was founded in 2009. 

“Indeed, the constant business interruption, and fear of violence,” led Uber Operations to, among other things, delete information from its website and make its phone system go straight to voicemail, Uber Operations said in an Aug. 29 federal court complaint. An Uber Technologies spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Uber Operations’ claims are similar to those made in a lawsuit settled last July between a Gainesville, Florida-based transportation service formerly called Uber Promotions Inc. and the ride-hailing company. Uber Promotions was renamed Invo Inc. in February.  Both lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

The court in Uber Promotions, prior to the settlement, preliminarily barred Uber Technologies from advertising its UberEVENTS service in Gainesville. The court granted the narrow injunction—rather than bar advertising of all its services statewide—to limit any negative impact on Uber Technologies. The UberEVENTS service—which allows users to pre-purchase rides for events—hadn’t yet taken off in Gainesville and was most similar to the service Uber Promotions provided, according to the court.   

In the latest case, Uber Operations argues Uber Technologies is infringing its Uber Operations and Uber Xchange marks. Uber Xchange is the name of the ride-hailing company’s leasing program. But Uber Operations says UberXchange is also the “backbone” of its data exchange platforms.

It remains to be seen whether the court will stop the ride-hailing company from advertising its Uber Xchange program in Tallahassee or other cities in Florida, which would be a similar order to the one it gave in Uber Promotions.  Uber Xchange currently operates in the Florida cities of Miami, Orlando, and Tampa Bay, according to its website