California residents may be interested to learn about some trademark litigation involving the social networking site Pinterest. In two recent cases, judges ruled against Pinterest when the company attempted to sue other online companies that were using the term 'pin" and variations on the word 'pin." There are no reports to indicate that Pinterest has any plans to appeal either of the court decisions.
One of the trademark cases involved a U.S. company called Pintrips that features a 'pin" button that users click to attach events to an online travel itinerary. Pinterest argued that the company's use of a button with the word 'pin" was a violation of Pinterest's trademark. However, according to Pinterest, Pintrips' founders were able to convince the court that they did not know about Pinterest when Pintrips was founded in 2011.
The other trademark case that Pinterest lost involved an online company in the U.K. called Free118. The company provides an online directory that features an action called 'pinmydeal" that lets users save local business promotions. In the Free118 case, the court decided that the word 'pin" was too common to be protected by a trademark.
Registering trademarks is an important way to protect a company's reputation. When another company begins using a trademarked logo, the owner may be able to convince the other company to stop using the logo with a cease and desist letter. If a cease and desist letter does not work, an attorney may be able to help the trademark owner to go forward with an infringement lawsuit.