Would you rather change the name of a popular app you’ve built or have to deal with the hassle of lawyers and a lawsuit to keep it? The Boston startup One Mighty Roar chose the latter.
It makes an online and mobile version of the popular party game Would You Rather—its version is just called You Rather—in which players make a choice between two often embarrassing or ridiculous options. Turns out that the Canadian game company Spin Master Ltd took exception to its version of the classic party game.
You see, Spin Master makes a card and board game called Would You Rather. The issue is about possible trademark infringement. Spin Master claims that One Mighty Roar is treading on the one it has for the game it makes called Would You Rather. And it wants One Mighty Roar to give up the name You Rather, relinquish the website yourather.com, get rid of its You Rather mobile apps on the Apple and Google app stores, and even avoid using other the words “would,” “you,” or “rather.” Spin Master has had some success.
It apparently asked Google and Apple to remove the You Rather app from their respective app stores. A paid version of the You Rather app has disappeared Google store. But One Mighty Roar is fighting back. On its blog, the company has called Spin Master’s requests “crazy.” And it isn’t stopping there. In December, One Mighty Roar filed a federal lawsuit in Boston asking a judge to decide whether Spin Master has any grounds for going after One Mighty Roar over the name of the game.
“This is a hard one to compromise on, or agree to,” said Sam Dunn, chief executive officer of One Mighty Roar. One Mighty Roar launched the You Rather website in 2009 and since then the website and its accompanying mobile apps have attracted millions of users. Dunn wouldn’t reveal how much money the company is making from the sites and mobile apps, but he said it’s enough to fight for keeping the names intact.
“We are making enough money for it to be worth it, and we have a lot more that we want to do with it,” said Dunn. One Mighty Roar isn’t just asking a judge to decide on the merits of Spin Master’s trademark claims, it is also asking the court to do away with its trademark status altogether. “The phrase ‘Would you rather’ merely describes a characteristic or purpose of the game product, and the phrase therefore does not, and in fact cannot, function as a trademark for such game products,” the company said in its lawsuit.
You Rather is not the only focus for One Mighty Roar. It’s a digital products company that has worked with such major brands as Facebook, Budweiser, and Nikon. So far, it appears to have had enough success so that it can take on a much bigger company.
A Spin Master spokeswoman said the company would not comment on the case.