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Google self-driving car spinoff Waymo goes to court against Clearwater company with the same name

Margie Manning

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Early Waymo riders Trey, Candace and Izzy (Source: Waymo)

Waymo LLC, a technology company spun off from Google Inc., wants a federal judge in Tampa to bar a Clearwater consumer goods distributor from using the Waymo name.

The Clearwater firm is confusing customers and damaging Waymo’s reputation, the Google spinoff said in a lawsuit filed Aug. 2 in U.S. District Court in Tampa.

The Clearwater company, also named Waymo LLC, has not yet responded to the lawsuit. Tony Orsini, who is listed on state records as manager, could not be reached for comment.

Waymo LLC in Mountain View, California has its roots in Google’s self-driving car project initiated in 2009. It was spun off as a stand-alone company in 2016 and since then has used the mark, WAYMO, in connection with various offerings including autonomous vehicles, computer software, sensors, apparel and other merchandise. The company also owns several trademark applications for the WAYMO mark, the lawsuit said.

A year after the Google spinoff began using the Waymo name, the Clearwater company incorporated in October 2017 under the trade name Waymo. It sells medical products and accessories for use in automobiles under the Waymo name, and currently offers hundreds of items on Amazon.com, the lawsuit said.

Waymo in California sent a letter to Waymo in Clearwater in November 2018, asking the Clearwater company to stop using the WAYMO market and name. “Defendant refused,” the lawsuit said.

The three-count lawsuit claims trademark infringement and unfair competition, false designation of origin, and state and federal trademark dilution. Waymo in California is asking the court to bar the Clearwater firm from using the Waymo name and mark. It’s also asking for damages. No hearing date has been set.

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