Pinterest Pins Hopes on Appeal: Trademark Defeat May Force Name Change

pinterest-screen‘Twitter with pictures’ social network Pinterest could be forced to change its name to resolve a trademark dispute.

The social media network was launched in 2011, however it didn’t reach UK users until 2012. In the intervening time, a UK startup named Premium Interest trademarked the name Pinterest and has now disputed its use.

The European Commission Office for Harmonisation of the Internal Market (OHIM) ruled that there was weaker evidence of brand awareness of Pinterest in the UK at the time of registration, and therefore Premium Interest had a stronger case to the name. Pinterest is an app that allows users to create online scrapbooks using pictures or portions of websites.

Premium Interest is developing a news aggregation service that creates what looks like an online scrapbook using pictures or portions of websites. You’ll appreciate there might be some confusion.

There has been no announcement yet as to whether Pinterest will change its branding, however such a move would not be unprecedented.

Microsoft was forced to change the name of its Metro user interface to resolve a lawsuit filed by a German supermarket, and it is being forced to change the name of its Skydrive storage service to reflect the wishes of Sky Broadcasting in the UK.

The ruling said, “People from all over the world, including the United Kingdom, can visit the website Pinterest and become familiar with the above-mentioned non-registered mark. Nevertheless, the Opposition Division cannot come to the conclusion, not even on the basis of probabilities or suppositions, that the alleged use of the mark is indeed proven in the United Kingdom and, in such a case, that the use is not confined to a small part of that territory…. Furthermore, a significant part of the evidence provided, that includes such references in respect of the use of the mark in the relevant territory, is dated after the relevant date.”

Pinterest said it plans to appeal the ruling. 

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

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