Lowdownapp on iPhone

Finnish mobile phone company Nokia has threatened to sue a London start-up, Lowdownapp that provides an app for checking in to locations.

The row between the companies revolves around the use of the word "HERE".

Lowdownapp released an app for checking in to locations called HERE, while Nokia owns a number of apps relating to mapping and navigation under the brand name "HERE".

Lowdownapp's use of the name could lead to confusion among the general public into thinking that the app is part of Nokia's HERE range, according to the Finnish company.

"Nokia has been using the HERE brand in relation to location-based apps and services since 2012. Its use by Lowdown for an app which offers location based services risks confusing customers and impacting on our brand, so we've asked them to use something else," a Nokia spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Next Web.

In the letter sent to Lowdownapp, Nokia gave the company a deadline of 10 February to rebrand the "HERE" function of the apps.

The company said it had so far invested $12m (£8m) in promoting the HERE brand, adding it has registered trademarks for the word in the context of computer and mobile applications.

Meanwhile, Lowdownapp said the spat is unnecessary.

"They are acting like a corporate bully, there was no need to be so strong with their approach," the company said in a statement.

It noted the name HERE was not meant to cause any brand confusion, but it was the most literal representation of the app's service.

Lowdownapp added that work is already underway to develop and implement a new name for the Lowdown HERE service, and it will take until the end of February to complete.

"As a small start-up trying to deliver value to users we don't think a multi-billion dollar company will be affected by this," said David Senior, chief executive of Lowdownapp.

"Life is hard enough without Goliaths squashing Davids - maybe they should focus on creating a better mapping service than Google or Apple than squishing a minuscule business."