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Amazon Sued for Alleged Trademark Breach with 'Chime'

Amazon Chime, the newly launched unified communication (UC) service that runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS), is the subject of a trademark violation lawsuit filed this week by a New York-based collaboration software firm.

CafeX is suing Amazon.com for "blatantly" infringing the trademark of its own collaboration software solution, also called Chime. In the lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and posted online by GeekWire, CafeX alleged that Amazon.com knowingly named its UC platform Chime, despite being aware of CafeX's existing Chime product for a full year.

CafeX launched Chime back in February 2016 (roughly a year before Amazon.com launched its own Chime-branded service) and presented the product a month later at the UC-focused Enterprise Connect conference, where it won an award.

As CafeX recounts in its suit, AWS representatives were also present at the conference and -- due to CafeX's extensive marketing efforts throughout the show -- would have been hard-pressed to remain oblivious to Chime's existence. Moreover, CafeX alleged that an AWS principal product manager even visited the CafeX booth.

It is "essentially impossible for AWS to have been ignorant of CafeX's CHIME product and service before launching its competing product and service," CafeX said in its filing.

The issue is compounded by the fact that both "Chime" products are enterprise collaboration platforms that provide voice, video and Web conferencing capabilities. This has led to confusion among CafeX partners and customers, according to the suit, who mistakenly thought that CafeX collaborated with Amazon.com on the product.

The suit notes that this year's Enterprise Connect event is just a little over a month away, and that both CafeX and Amazon.com will be promoting their respective UC products there in booths that are just 30 feet apart. Amazon.com is also expected to conduct a keynote talk at the conference.

"If AWS is permitted to use the Infringing Trademarks at the upcoming Enterprise Connect trade show and otherwise continue to market its products and services under the Infringing Trademarks, AWS will be able to saturate the market, overwhelming CafeX and its CHIME Trademarks. As a result, the public will come to assume incorrectly that CafeX's CHIME-branded products and services are really AWS's, or that CafeX's CHIME-branded products and services are somehow connected to AWS. CafeX will thereby lose control over its goodwill and reputation, its identity, and the value of its CHIME Trademarks, to CafeX's great and irreparable harm," the suit claims.

CafeX is asking the court to bar Amazon.com from using the Chime name for its UC platform, as well as for compensatory damages.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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