updated 06:50 pm EST, Sat December 5, 2009
CrunchPad TM filed day of complaint
The legal claims behind the lawsuit over CrunchPad rights may be less clear than once thought based on an investigation of the details. Despite claiming to have owned the trademark for the CrunchPad name, Michael Arrington and TechCrunch are now known by Engadget to have only filed for the trademark on November 17th, the same day Fusion Garage announced its split on the tablet project and just three days before the planned launch. Most products' trademarks are settled months before release.
Additionally, letters and other documentation make no explicit mention of a contract or of sole rights to anything involved in the project. While Taiwanese contractor Pegatron has said it won't produce any devices without TechCrunch approval, any jointly owned rights would automatically give Fusion Garage rights to produce the CrunchPad on its own, albeit likely under a different name.
It remains possible that a contract is in place that changes the situation. However, any absence of these guarantees may clear a path for Fusion Garage to essentially usurp the project for its own purposes. The startup is set to publicly demo the tablet, which focuses exclusively on web browsing, and explain its position at a San Francisco event on Monday.