New York’s increasingly-popular start-up Forrst, a Tumblr-esque forum for designers and developers, appears to be the victim of a rather blatant ripoff from the Emerald Isle. A freelance Irish designer, Eamonn Murphy, has a splash page up for Furrst.com, “an exciting new web app for designers who care about content.”
Uh, wait a second. Didn’t someone else do that furrst?
It’s not clear what features or functionality he plans to offer that could be similar to Forrst’s. The designer does not have an account on Forrst, but a firm listing Furrst as a client does. He’s been working on the site since November, but has only publicly shared designs for icons that give only little hints as to what the product will be.
Forrst is suing Mr. Murphy in the New York Southern District Court for trademark infringement. “The law isn’t concerned with anything other than it’s for designers, it’s almost identical to our name, and it’s for feedback around client/designer feedback about copy,” says Forrst founder Kyle Bragger. He has not heard back anything “of substance” from the accused party.
The plot thickens–Furrst says it’s supported by official government funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, which distributes lottery funds to arts organizations, artists and groups. They’ll be happy to hear about this!
Furrst has been largely silent on updates, but in April Mr. Murphy tweeted “Building up a nice collection of Furrst related swag.” Perhaps he can save said swag for a future start-up that has nothing to do with design.
UPDATE: Furrst and Forrst have reached an “amicable agreement” and Furrst is changing its name to something less similar to Forrst. It was not their intent to infringe, Furrst told Forrst.