|Two years ago, I launched a social media gaming company called Cashsquare. Our small team set out to create the first real-life virtual game that lets people buy and sell real-life properties, but in a virtual gaming environment.|
We wanted to bring online games to the real world and we did everything the right way. We brought together a talented team of developers and marketers, as well as individuals with years of experience in real estate development. We built a business plan. We found office space, which we shared to save costs. We secured our first round of investment. And we spent countless hours developing the game - all while legally dotting all of our i’s and crossing all of our t’s along the way. We were starting to see all of our efforts paying off.
Then, we got sued by Square, Inc. – the payment processing company. It turns out we were not the only victims. Square, Inc. also sued other startups with the word “square” in their names. Apparently, Square, Inc. feels that it has the monopoly on the word “square,” and it doesn’t matter that there’s no likelihood of confusion (to use the trademark parlance) between our real-life virtual game and Square Inc.’s payment processing business. It’s only a matter of time before Square, Inc. insists that Moscow’s Red Square or Beijing’s Tiananmen Square change their names.
What are we going to do?
We’re moving forward. We just launched our new version and our developers are pushing hard to make new features the next month. We feel we’ve invested a lot in our name and our brand, and we’re not backing down just because a larger company feels it can bully startups into submission.
This is a very realistic issue that many startups and founders may face. We are going to fight it and believe our startup will survive, because we do it for the love of the game.
We encourage all startups and founders to follow their passion and persevere in the face of adversity.