Pinterest in EU Trademark Registration Dispute

One of the largest growing social media sites in 2013, Pinterest, with over 70 million users, is in a trade mark dispute with company Premium Interest who attempted to register a trademark with the same name. Now Pinterest have initiated steps to secure their brand and Intellectual Property.

The services of London based company Premium Interest include an online new digest resource where the reader is in charge of selecting and raking the news, rather than the online editor. The company describes itself on its website as “Sharing realtime events about what’s happening on the planet, with news you choose to be in”.

Premium Interest filed an application for Community Trade Mark (CTM) ‘Pinterest’ in January 2012. Pinterest lodged an opposition but were not in possession of any earlier registered trade mark rights in Europe which they could rely on to support their case. Nor could they show that on the date of application, the company was well known enough to prevent Premium Interest’s trade application for the name ‘Pinterest’ from being granted. OHIM then ruled that there was not enough evidence to support public awareness of the brand even through Pinterest were able to present documents and press reports in which they had been mentioned.

What will follow? Pinterest lost the trademark dispute at OHIM with Premium Interest, so will this gargantuan social media company have no alternative but to change their name?

OHIM ‘s decision will create problems for the social media site and will certainly be a deterrent to the company’s European growth. Their choices will probably be either to appeal the decision or conceivably acquire a licence from Premium Interest in order to use the trademark. If both these fail, Pinterest may have to change its name here in the EU.

This case is a prime example of a business failing to register a trademark in time. Brand owners should remember, when setting up a business, to keep clear records which show use of any and all of their trademarks and ensure that their intellectual property is protected before it is too late.

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