Social Media and IP : Part VII – Trade Mark Cases
PINTEREST, v. PINTRIPS
Pinterest, a social media platform, which allows users to upload content and share it through what it calls as ‘pins,’ filed a suit against Pintrips, a company that allows users to compare travel plans and flight prices. In its suit, Pinterest claimed that it owns trade mark rights with respect to the mark, PIN, and that its use by Pintrips amounts to trade mark infringement and dilution. The case was filed in 2013 in a California Court.
After analyzing the facts, the Court held that Pintrips was not liable for infringement of any rights Pinterest may have in the mark, PIN. It came to this conclusion on the grounds that there was no likelihood of confusion, and that use of the word ‘PIN’ was fair use. The Court pointed out that the word was used by Pintrips in a descriptive manner, and that there cannot be any likelihood of confusion among relevant consumers.
AvePoint v. Power Tools
AvePoint provides services around Microsoft SharePoint, and so does the Defendant in this case. The Defendant created a fictitious LinkedIn account in the name of Jim Chun, claiming that he is AvePoint’s representative. Through the account, the Defendant carried out a campaign of interacting with customers, fielding questions, making comments. etc.
Aggrieved by the actions of the Defendant, AvePoint filed a suit for trade mark infringement and unfair competition among others. The Court held in the case that the Defendant’s act of using AvePoint’s trade mark on Linkedin amounts to trade mark infringement.
Ferrari v. Wassem
In 2008, at the age of 15, Sammy Wassem created a Facebook fan page for Ferrari. He created and uploaded content on the page, and the page received excellent response. When the number of fans on the page reached five hundred thousand, Ferrari congratulated Wassem, and informed him that they would be taking over the page. Wassem requested for compensation for his work, but received no response.
In 2009, Ferrari took over the administration of the page, but allowed Wassem to manage it. In 2011, Wassem’s manager rights were terminated and Ferrari did not pay any compensation for the work he had put on the page. In 2013, Wassem and his father sued Ferrari in a California Court, alleging copyright infringement, and asking for compensation for more than five thousand five hundred hours of work. In response, Ferrari countersued Wassem for trademark infringement. No further update on the case was available as of January, 2015.
Contributed by Social Media Law Team of BananaIP
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1.PINTEREST, INC. V. PINTRIPS, INC., Case No. 13-cv-04608-HSG (N.D. Cal. Jun 12, 2015).