Social Startup Amazee Fighting Amazon’s Amazing Name-Change Demand

imageThis is amaz-ing. Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) has been demanding Swiss social collaboration platform Amazee change its name, and has now also filed an appeal against its plan to register the name in the US.

Amazee was founded in Zurich in 2007 by Gregory Gerhardt, Dania Gerhardt and Prodosh Banerjee as a way to help people collaborate on projects in an open fashion. But the company says the bookseller’s Luxembourg subsidiary is “demanding the deletion of Amazee in the Swiss trade mark register, (while) US attorneys have filed an appeal against the registration of Amazee in the US”.

According to Amazee, which also has an office in San Francisco, Jeff Bezos’ company told it: “The mark ‘Amazee’ is not a natural derivative of ‘amazing’. Amazee is a coined term where the dominant portion of the mark brings to mind Amazon, not ‘amazing‘.”

Amazee is now seeking public support, launching a project on its site dedicated to its plight that says: “Amazon claims that the average consumer is likely to confuse Amazon with Amazee. We think that Amazon is wrong.” From its blog: “This, as you can imagine, is very annoying for us. We see no danger of confusion. Our name comes from the word ‘amazing’, theirs from the mighty Amazon river. We have no intention of selling you books, CDs or whatever Amazon has in stock.”

One hopes we don’t see court time taken up with a ruling on pronunciation. Because Amazon – especially following drawing ire for categorising thousands of gay-themed titles as “adult material” – may be barking up the wrong tree with this one. After all, whilst it’s “Am-ay-zee”, it’s never “Am-ay-zon”.

Project Pete on Social Collaboration from Amazee on Vimeo.