The Real Deal New York

Right to work: Co-working giants battle each other over moniker

WeWork sues UrWork in UK over trademark infringement
August 14, 2017 05:50PM

WeWork’s Adam Neumann and UrWork’s Mao Daqing

WeWork is taking on UrWork in London, claiming the Chinese rival is infringing on its trademarks.

The shared-workspace behemoth filed a lawsuit in the U.K.’s High Court of Justice’s Chancer Division, claiming UrWork of “passing off,” or trying to confuse consumers that it’s somehow linked to WeWork, Bloomberg reported.

“WeWork has invested substantial time and money building a globally recognizable brand. Our name is distinctive and well known,” a representative for WeWork wrote in an email. “It is a valuable asset, is a source of pride to the company, and represents an important lifestyle choice for our members. That is why we have taken action in the U.K.”

The legal spat comes as two companies battle each other for market share. WeWork is the largest company of its kind across the globe, but UrWork owns its home turf in China – where WeWork is trying to expand its footprint – and has aims of expanding on the international scene in places like London, Singapore, New York and Los Angeles.

UrWork, on the other hand, argues that it’s not infringing on WeWork’s rights.

“‘Work’ is an open commonly used word; the trademarks relate to ’UR’ and ’we’ and they’re very different so WeWork’s claim of trademark infringement has no legal basis,” a spokesperson for the Beijing-based startup wrote in a statement.

WeWork recently raised $760 million in a fundraising round that’s reportedly valued the company at $20 billion. UrWork reportedly raised $236 million in just the past three months, and is backed by a fund linked to billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial.

UrWork recently partnered with U.S. co-working firm Serendipity Labs to jointly lease 34,000 square feet at FoSun International’s 28 Liberty Street. It’s the first U.S. location for UrWork. [Bloomberg] – Rich Bockmann