Digital

Pinterest the Bully? Travel Startup Thinks So, Answers Trademark Lawsuit

@denschaal

Jan 07, 2014 1:58 pm

Skift Take

Pinterest had a huge travel vertical even before it filed its lawsuit and prior to its launching of Place Pins. Regardless of the outcome of this trademark lawsuit, few are confusing the prospects of Pinterest vis a vis Pintrips.

— Dennis Schaal

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Travel startup Pintrips finally answered a Pinterest trademark-infringement lawsuit, arguing that the visual social media company is a “bully.”

“This Complaint is a textbook example of an industry giant using a spurious lawsuit to bully a small entity into giving up its right to use a generic, common term that merely describes a core function of its service,” Pintrips alleges in a motion to dismiss.

“The law does not permit a common generic term ["pin"] to be removed from common and pervasive use so that a single company may profit,” Pintrips alleges.

[Update: Pinterest disagrees with that assessment, and tells Skift: "Our focus is on preventing consumer confusion and protecting our trademarks. Toward that goal, Pinterest already has registered trademarks for PIN in several countries, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark office has approved Pinterest's application for that mark, acknowledging the protectability of PIN in favor of Pinterest."]

Launched around April 2013, Pintrips offers an airfare comparison dashboard.

In its October 2013 lawsuit, Pinterest charges Pintrips with trademark infringement because of its name, and the similarities in the sound when someone utters their respective names.

“With this lawsuit, Plaintiff attempts to extend its market power to control the use of a common generic term by asking this Court to issue an order which will effectively appropriate to Plaintiff’s exclusive use a common, functional term frequently used by software providers, users, and commentators alike to describe certain common features of websites, online maps, apps, operating systems, graphic user interfaces, and software programs,” Pintrips alleges.  “Plaintiff has no rights entitling it to such relief.”

Pintrips asks the U.S. District Court in San Francisco to dismiss Pinterest’s suit.

In November, a month after Pinterest filed its lawsuit against Pintrips, Pinterest officially entered the travel industry with the launch of Place Pins.

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PIN word mark/Pinterest

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