eBay is being sued by a former Alibaba representative on grounds of trademark registration issues for the classified mobile app Close5, owned by eBay. The plaintif says Close5 is too close to 5miles in the way it sounds – 5miles is owned by the representative in question, according to the filed lawsuit.
The mobile app 5miles was started in 2014 by the former Alibaba executive and is funded by
companies and individuals who have worked with or invested in Alibaba and eBay, according to this Dallas News blog post, which may have been the first to report the two companies were in discussions about the similarity of their names, ecommercebytes.com reports.
A spokesperson for 5miles said it filed an intent-to-use trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office in May 2014, the same month it registered the domain name, 5milesapp.com. “eBay did not file an intent-to-use trademark application for Close5 until September 2014, months later. That office granted 5miles’ parent company the trademark registration (last month), clearing the way for the federal suit against eBay and two of its affiliates,” EcommerceBytes cites.
The 5miles app uses the slogan, “all within 5 miles,” while eBay’s Close5 uses the tagline, “Everything within 5 miles.” And 5miles said its logo features a stylized number 5 in white on an orange background, while Close5 uses the number 5 in red. The lawsuit seeks a court order that prohibits eBay from using “any mark that is the same as or confusingly similar to the 5miles” name, logo and slogan.
eBay launched Close5 after acquiring a startup called Rumgr. In September 2015 eBay said Close5 was gaining strong adoption, with 2.9 million downloads and, in January 2016, eBay CEO Devin Wenig said that figure was approaching 6 million. In March 2016, 5Miles touted over 5 million registered users and said the app had facilitated $1 billion in local transactions in its first year.