We had to change our company name from Cloudnet Telecommunications to Birchills Telecom following legal action from The Cloud.

We may have gone unnoticed, but as our search engine optimisation (SEO) activity was driving us to a higher Google spot than The Cloud Networks, when web users searched for the term “cloud”. The Wi-Fi hotspot company, popularly known as The Cloud, promptly began legal action claiming ownership of the word “Cloud”.

The Cloud Networks were seeking a High Court Injunction at an early date to stop Cloudnet “passing themselves” off as the Wi-Fi hotspot supplier.

As The Cloud knows, the costs of defending such an action are beyond the scope of most small companies. Birchills Telecoms was founded in 2009 to provide plug and play VoIP systems directly to small businesses, so is unable to fight a company with unlimited funds to enforce the trademark on the word “Cloud”.

We were told by The Cloud’s legal team to simply change our name in case The Cloud decided, at a later date, to sell telephone systems. To be asked to simply change our name is disingenuous as this is neither simple nor cheap to do and we are being asked to throw away the brand loyalty we have built up.

Some research on the Trade Mark registry reveals and there are literally hundreds of registered trade names including the word “cloud” in the telecommunications category and no doubt The Cloud is pursuing them too.

We provide business phone systems and cannot be simply mistaken for the Wi-Fi hotspot provider, and were in no way trying to pass ourselves off as them. We have now had to invest in changing our branding, marketing materials, emails and more, while keeping our customers happy and informed of the changes.

The new name reflects where the company is based and the new brand is dynamic and fresh to reflect the company’s values of freedom, control and simplicity. Our existing customers have been informed and its user base continues to grow, but it’s no thanks to The Cloud.