WeWork has taken legal action against its competitor, Codi, this week over its marketing campaign using the slogan: “WeWont.”
According to an article published by TechCrunch, WeWork’s Chief Legal Officer Pam Swidler sent a cease-and-desist letter to Codi, alleging unauthorized use of intellectual property, false advertising, and tortious interference.
Codi’s cleverly named campaign, which included setting up booths outside WeWork offices in New York and San Francisco, and launching a “WeWork Relief Fund,” offered discounted office spaces to those potentially affected by WeWork closures.
The necessity for WeWork’s legal move not only reflects the mounting challenges it faces as it works to renegotiate leases, but it’s also revealing of the heightened competition within the coworking space. Many of WeWork’s competitors are moving into metro areas where the company once stood out among limited options.
Despite WeWork’s legal stance, Codi’s CEO Christelle Rohaut reportedly sees their campaign as fair competition. Codi, which secured $16 million in funding in 2022, positions itself as an “office-as-a-service” startup, focusing on helping businesses find and manage private, turnkey office spaces, according to Robots.net.
WeWork’s financial challenges have been well-documented. The company’s business model, which leaned heavily on long-term leases without adequate demand, has been a major pain point. With a reported net loss of $397 million in Q2 of the previous year and a declining stock price, WeWork’s dominance in the coworking world is under threat from all angles.
As the traditional office model undergoes transformation, companies are exploring flexible, cost-effective solutions. The rise of competitors in the coworking space shows that landlords, developers, and competing coworking operators are all homing in on the rising demand for diverse office solutions — catering to a workforce that values flexibility, convenience, and adaptability.
The WeWork/Codi legal dispute is more than just a legal issue; it could offer a small glimpse into the future of an industry poised for major growth. Workforce preferences for office spaces are dramatically changing around the world, and as it does, the coworking industry will continue to see shifts, innovations, and challenges.