Service Provider Cloud

Lawyers Ring Amazon's Chimes – Lawsuit Charges Trademark Ripoff

Collaboration vendor CafeX says it had a video collaboration product called "Chime" a year before Amazon came out with its service, and is suing Amazon over it.

In a lawsuit filed in the US District Court, Southern District of New York, on Wednesday, CafeX charges Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) with trademark infringement, deceptive acts and practices and other offenses. CafeX wants injunctions to stop Amazon from calling its product "Chime," and marketing it under that name, as well as awards of profits, damages and related relief.

CafeX, based in New York, says it announced its CHIME video collaboration software in February 2016, marketing it as a simple solution for video and voice conferencing, web chat and document sharing.

A month later, CafeX touted the product at the Enterprise Connect business communications conference, promoting Chime at the CafeX booth and all over the show floor. The product got the best of show award.

(We suppose that's considered impressive by some people, but Enterprise Connect is an inadequate substitute for the Big Communications Event, and Enterprise Connect's best-in-show award isn't fit to polish the shoes of Leading Lights.)

And who strolled by the CafeX booth at the Enterprise Connect conference? An Amazon employee with the title Principal Product Manager, that's who! Or so CafeX says in its lawsuit.

(No doubt the alleged AWS employee got plenty of attention from the folks at the CafeX booth, because everybody knows the show floors at Enterprise Connect are empty, with exhibitor staff passing time by taking pictures of their feet and sharing them on Snapchat, while wishing they were at the Big Communications Event instead.)

AWS introduced its Chime cloud collaboration product a year after CafeX, on Feb. 14, according to the CafeX lawsuit. Amazon had similar functionality and target customers. (See Amazon Chime Targets Skype, WebEx.)

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CafeX says it's already hearing from people who are confused by the two similar products. These include partners who think that CafeX went behind their backs and partnered with Amazon instead, and who are steamed about it.

Both CafeX and Amazon will be at this year's Enterprise Connect conference, where Amazon will be two booths from CafeX. Amazon will deliver a keynote, livestreamed over the Internet, where it will probably promote its own Chime product to the detriment of CafeX, CafeX says.

CafeX wants a judge to order Amazon to cut it out and compensate CafeX for the damages.

Amazon did not respond to an inquiry from Light Reading.

— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud

kq4ym 3/6/2017 | 3:11:52 PM
Re: Seems pretty basic research Of course the lawyers tell their clients they've got a great case, and then both sides spend oddles of cash at the courthouse, eventurally settlling out of court to avoid all the lawyers costs from getting out of hand. Interesting to watch this one.
Mitch Wagner 3/2/2017 | 7:30:46 AM
Re: Seems pretty basic research The law often looks cut and dried when it's just one side telling the story!
Alison_ Diana 2/27/2017 | 9:42:26 AM
Re: Seems pretty basic research If CafeX's assertions are true, it seems like an open and shut case, which makes me question whether it is as cut and dried as it seems. We'll see, I suppose, when the lawyers do what it is lawyers do!
Mitch Wagner 2/24/2017 | 4:04:20 PM
Re: Seems pretty basic research A simple Google search could have saved legal fees - it CafeX's assertions are correct.
Alison_ Diana 2/24/2017 | 3:41:53 PM
Seems pretty basic research Surely Amazon did some research before naming its product? Hard to imagine an in-house lawyer somewhere in the ginormous company didn't make sure Chime wasn't in use by a company in a similar space. Or maybe they were all on SnapChat too?
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