Sony Ericsson Sues Clearwire Over Swirl Logo

Sony Ericsson is seeing red over a green swirl U.S. competitor Clearwire is using as its logo.

The mobile-handset maker has sued Clearwire over it, claiming the logo looks too much like one Sony Ericsson has been using since 2001 when the company launched.

The suit was filed last week in a U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va. Engadget has posted the filing online.

Sony Ericsson claims that “Clearwire’s use of infringing sphere with swirl logos” is “confusingly similar” to its own “federally registered sphere with swirl marks,” which it spent “millions of dollars” to advertise and market to customers.

The handset maker said it became aware in late 2009 that Clearwire planned to use a similar-looking logo and contacted the company in January 2010 to call them on the similarity.

The companies hashed out a change in the logo; however, a logo Clearwire revealed in May to market mobile handsets in the U.S. still looks too similar to Sony Ericsson’s own for the company’s comfort, according to the legal filing.

Sony Ericsson is seeking to stop Clearwire from using the logo and also wants at least $150,000 in damages and legal fees.

Currently, Sony Ericsson’s brand and swirl are more recognizable in Europe; the handset manufacturer has only a slim market share in the U.S.

Clearwire, meanwhile, is trying to give its business which gambled on early WIMAX adoption and lost a shot in the arm with a new line of smartphones. The cash-strapped company has hit a rough patch lately, experiencing layoffs and the departure of founder and chairman Craig McCaw a couple of weeks ago.

Its attempt to prevent its beleaguered competitor from using a similar logo on its devices could signal that Sony Ericsson still hopes to compete in the U.S. smartphone market, where it launched a series of Android phones in the past year but has so far seen little uptake.

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