So here’s a story that hopefully will be an eye-opener for entrepreneurs and startups, while providing a painful peek into what trademark bullying looks like. It goes a little something like this: About two years ago, software engineer Brian Hamachek decided to build an app first on Windows Mobile (how some horror stories have been known to begin), then on Windows Phone, that enables location-based chat — and calling. In other words, call and chat with new friends who live close by, for free. He called it Who’s Near Me Live.
Long story short: A Lightbank-backed startup called myRete own and operate a similar app called WhosHere, which was founded two years earlier. Well, they didn’t like the name Brian had chosen for the app — claimed it was too similer — so they asked him to change it. At first, he said "why no thank you," but then they hit him with a C&D and then a lawsuit, so he acquiesced. Sounds like standard stuff for startup vs. incumbent, right? Well, it doesn’t end there.