In the wake of a trademark battle with a major corporation, a local company founded by two Watertown girls and their father has been reborn under a new name.
The Forino sisters, ages 14 and 10, invented microfiber cleaning cloths that stick to smart phones and tablets, and although their company is safe, the "Hypewipes" no longer exist.
"It was pretty sad because we had to see all our products go," explained 14-year-old Sophia Forino.
An Indiana company named Current Technologies sued the family, saying its "Hype-Wipe" product, a chlorine-moistened cloth for laboratory and industrial settings, was too similar, and the out-of-court settlement reached meant the family had to give up its company name.
“We were cool with giving up the name," the girls' father, Rocco Forino said.
That's because the Forinos had "PicPop" waiting in the wings. It's a social media app that Rocco says he was working on at the same time he and his daughters founded Hypewipes.
Now, he has combined the two.
Sophia Forino explained that with PicPop, users can message each other, text and post short videos with their favorite songs behind them – and with the touch of the screen, can learn the name of the song and buy it off iTunes.
“I think they're going to like the music discovery, how you don't have to search what song it was, you can find out what it was right away," Sophia Forino said.
PicPop users can set up the app to display virtual stickers with different designs alongside their names when they make comments or text.
Ten-year-old Marissa Forino said through the PicPop app or website, users can take those same virtual sticker designs and put them on T-shirts, plush toys or those microfiber cleaning cloths the Forinos introduced more than a year ago.
“I like the PicPop stickers and it shows your personality and what you like the best," she said, "and to see what other people like also."
Although the Troubleshooters did some searching and found a few other apps with the name PicPop, Rocco Forino said he did his homework.
“This is a little bit different this time. We are the sole register of PicPop with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office," he explained. "So I don't see any issues."
We asked the Forinos what happened to the thousands of Hypewipes in their inventory.
According to the Forinos and an attorney representing Current Technologies, a confidentiality agreement restricts anyone from commenting, but they released a joint statement saying retailers can sell the remaining Hypewipes on their shelves.