A single mother from Florida is gearing up for battle with ride-hailing behemoth Uber over an app she is building.

Carolina Vengoechea, 45, tells The Post that Uber has demanded she give up the name of her beauty salon app, called “BeauBer.” But she has refused, arguing that the name is the combination of her two job titles, beautician and barber — and has nothing to do with the San Francisco-based company.

Vengoechea says she has already turned down multiple settlement offers from the $60 billion Uber, which is hell-bent on destroying trademarks that include its name. Unless the company backs down, she said, she will be forced to face them in court next year.

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“I’ve already spent money on BeauBer,” Vengoechea said of her app. “I feel like settling is just giving up. I know I’m not doing anything wrong. Why do I have to settle just because they have more money than me?”

Vengoechea says she started building the BeauBer app in 2018 to help patrons of her small beauty salon book appointments. But when she hired a lawyer to have the name trademarked, she found herself in the crosshairs of Uber’s high-powered legal team, which filed a notice of opposition with the US Patent and Trademark Office accusing her of attempting to capitalize on the Uber brand.

Vengoechea has designed the BeauBer logo with a colorful 1970s disco look — nothing like Uber’s sleek black and white logo. And she is quick to point out that the “u” in the name comes from “beauty,” not “uber.” So it is silent and therefore doesn’t sound like Uber.

Uber is no stranger to attacking trademarks that include its name. It has also gone after individuals who have attempted to trademark names like “Uber Trash,” “UberAire,” “Uber Cuts” and “Uber Health,” filing more than a dozen trademark oppositions since it went after Vengoechea last October.

It’s a strategy that lawyers say is simply part of good corporate hygiene.

Vengoechea
Vengoechea said she created the app to make it easier for her customers to book appointments.Larry Marano

“The more they protect their mark, the more its value grows,” noted Michael Goldberg, a partner at law firm Pryor Cashman. “She’s a victim of Uber’s success, really.”

But they also agree that Vengoechea, who works alone at her salon in Coral Gables, Fla., could actually have a shot in court.

“Here, it appears that Uber has gone outside their normal zone of necessary protection and have opposed a mark which should not reasonably be opposed,” Steven Gursky, a partner at law firm Oshlan, said. “Perhaps being ‘uber’ wealthy allows them to be overly aggressive.”

Vengoechea told The Post that Uber’s legal maneuvers have prevented her from being able to invest in the development of her app since the money she had set aside for the project has since been funneled instead into legal fees.

But now that she’s in the fight, she also doesn’t want to let Uber win.

“I’m just a woman who’s trying to do her business and trying to do well and make it for my daughter,” she said. “When somebody has more money than you, they kill your dreams.”

Uber declined to comment for this story.



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