It turns out that Airbnb is going after all the companies that try to use the word BNB in their name. Is as crazy and as simple as this.
Through the work of Italian Journalist Monica Zornetta from Avvenire.it, we have found out that companies with very distinctive brand names like CiaoBNB and HoodBNB had to defend themselves from the infamous Silicon Valley corporation.
Doing a bit of research ourselves we found out that the list of debated cases is quite long, on top of us and the aforementioned brands also MisterBNB, FarmBNB, CleanBNB, CheckBNB, SyncBNB, EasyBNB had to suffer to be challenged while trying to register their brand names at EUIPO ( https://euipo.europa.eu/ ) with the addition of several other names using AIR ( yes, the transparent stuff that we breath) in their names, like AIRtasker, AIRplan, AIRspace, AIRsorted …
As highlighted in the article, particularly significant and worrying is the recent case of young startup HoodBNB that had to cave in and abandon its name and consequently fold because it was not able to defend its rights against the phalanges of lawyers that went after them.
It really looks like both BNB and AIR, even when used disjointedly now are words that belong to a single corporation and no more commonly used terms after all. Right?
Our part in this story.
When in 2016 in Venice, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Bologna we started our adventure as a movement we wanted to ensure that our name would have conveyed clearly what it was all about. We wanted to declare the unequivocal values that characterize the quality of our prospect impact on communities:
Fair, inspired by the world of Fair Trade, circular economy, sustainable development and the involvement of communities in economic and social progress;
Bnb, the core business, hospitality, preferably with hosts and structures that truly represent the soul of the place, integral parts of an extended community of residents and local economic activities;
.Coop, our cooperative DNA, the path to become a home for all those who want to participate in the growth of this model of solidarity and participatory economy.
So, clearly is neither the Fair or the .Coop the problem, the only thing that we clearly and honestly have in common with the ubiquitous American mega-corporation is the BNB part and now it seems that this common word can be used only by them and them only.
It’s not just about us, we knew it was coming and we are ready in case the EUIPO sentence will confirm the worrying pattern that we have seen arising, we are really worried for the whole industry, the thousands of small companies worldwide using BNB in their name that are working in good faith to provide real home-like accommodations and we are worried for what a precedent like this could mean when in the future other corporations will decide that is time to own other common words, just like they are doing now with BNB and AIR.