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UK Company Successfully Claims Ownership of "Pinterest" Trademark

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the a-rose-by-any-other-name dept.

Social Networks 133

judgecorp writes "Pinterest could be in trouble — a British firm has successfully claimed ownership of the European trademark 'Pinterest', even though it has not yet used the term in any public products. Pinterest was formed in 2011, and popular by 2011, but did not launch in Europe until 2012 — months after the UK company Premium Interest had registered the trademark. That trademark has now been confirmed by the European Commission's Office for the Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). Since so much of Pinterest's business is based on its name, the ruling could force Pinterest to change its name — a move which has precedents: Microsoft is changing the name of Skydrive because it infringes the trademark of British broadcaster BSkyB, normally known as Sky."

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133 comments

Skydrive is changing name? When? (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | about 4 months ago | (#45872777)

Where is that stated anywhere?

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (5, Informative)

ledow (319597) | about 4 months ago | (#45872891)

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 4 months ago | (#45872917)

I say turn it into a game, let the users come up with a name through a contest. We all know M$ will decide them name in the end anyway but they might as well try and have some fun with it

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45875093)

ZuneDrive or KinectDrive

Re: Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45875733)

Skynet?

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873161)

Name change just for the UK or worldwide? If I were MS that's change it just within the UK market, if I could be bothered at all that is!**

**MS have the monies to drag this one out if they wanted.

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 4 months ago | (#45873351)

They might have money but they have virtually no chance against British Sky broadcasting, who also offer broadband services and a cloud storage feature as part of that. BSkyB also have about 10 billion US dollars a year in revenue, so they can afford Lawyers too.

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873739)

So under that premise, how long before Sky start suing airlines? Because that's how ludicrous this trademark is.

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45874189)

That's not how trademarks work. Anyone can start an airline and call it Sky Airways or Sky whatever-they-like, and BSkyB can't do anything about it. But now imagine Sky decides to enter the airline business and develops a new product, a special flight, catering to virgins, offering prostitutes on board, over international airspace, so they can get some nookie. They decide to call it Virgin Aviation. I bet Branson would pop a gasket.

So, Sky, which is also an internet and cloud operator/provider, obviously has the right to defend it's trademark when Microsoft decides to trample all over it. And since they're working in the same field, they win. Easy, peasy.

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45874803)

The UK IPO database lists over 500 trademarks containing the word Sky. Including this one. Is Sky gonna sue them all?

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ohim?ohimnum=E8311871 [ipo.gov.uk]

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45874843)

You seem to have spectacularly failed to understand the post you replied to. (As for your link, it doesn't work.)

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873793)

They might have money but they have virtually no chance against British Sky broadcasting, who also offer broadband services and a cloud storage feature as part of that. BSkyB also have about 10 billion US dollars a year in revenue, so they can afford Lawyers too.

Said lawyers didn't grant them a victory in the Sky Vs Skype case, did it?

GP's point is still as valid as before.

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873187)

Forgotten how to use Google?

Nope. Forgotten how to be polite?

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873305)

This. I left software engineering and I'm happier for two reasons, the first of which is that I'm surrounded by a far more eclectic collection of talents, and the second of which is that everyone seems to treat each other better.

I've never understood the macho dork culture, although i think in a lot of cases it's just victims of bullies wishing they could turn the tables on the world.

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45874081)

Impoliteness is not making a token effort to answer a question for yourself before asking someone else.

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45874221)

Very well put. In this day and age, ignorance is a choice. I wish people would stop being lazy and would just take the 3 seconds to google whatever it is they're asking about, and making themselves look like asses in the process.

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45875743)

But it's sometimes more interesting to start a discussion about a topic than just quickly google it in your solitude.

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (1)

Sique (173459) | about 4 months ago | (#45872979)

It's not just Skydrive, also the Metro GUI is not called Metro in the EU, because of the collision with the german wholesaler Metro.

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873123)

There is no such thing as the Metro GUI. Metro is the name of the design language created by Microsoft.

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873297)

Metro design langauge.... wuuut?

Do you mean XAML? HTML5 ? C#/VB/C/JS? Those are what you use to develop modern style apps on Win8/8.1 ...

Re:Skydrive is changing name? When? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 4 months ago | (#45873399)

Metro is not the official name anywhere, it's just an internal codename that has clung to life.

I was meeting with an Intel Premium partner company a little while ago and they were 'not allowed to discuss' things as 'haswell' or 'broadwell' or the like, even though everyone knows what they mean. They're technically intel codenames and you're supposed to call them '4th generation' and '5th generation' on all the promo materials, same sort of thing. Internal codenames need not be trademarked.

Metro is officially the microsoft design language, and windows store style apps use the design language.

Use it or lose it (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#45872793)

I know nothing about UK law, but in the USA you have actually use a trademark for it to be valid. If they registered the mark in 2012, and still haven't used it in 2014, then they should be seen as squatters, not legitimate users of the mark.

Re:Use it or lose it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45872929)

I know nothing about UK law...

There's your problem right there!

Re:Use it or lose it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45872985)

Doesn't seem there is much reason to learn it if they accept trademark laws like these.

Re:Use it or lose it (1, Funny)

Soluzar (1957050) | about 4 months ago | (#45873049)

You're right of course, we should all use American law. Just as God intended. Many apologies to our noble American overlords.

just as (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873111)

god intended the queen to be divine?

American is in bad shape, but at least we are not total slaves to a 'queen' (yet)

Re:just as (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873345)

No, most US citizens are slaves to whoever has the money.

Not sure if you've noticed but your famed constitution now has about same importance as toilet paper because the people in charge translate it however the fuck they like.

Re:Use it or lose it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873143)

You're right of course, we should all use American law. Just as God intended.

Fine, have it your way: European Commission's Office for the Harmonization rules supreme! Go trolls!

Re:Use it or lose it (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 4 months ago | (#45873243)

"Office for the Harmonization [...]" sounds very sinister, for some reason.

Re:Use it or lose it (1)

_merlin (160982) | about 4 months ago | (#45874519)

"Harmonisation" is used as a euphamism for censorship in China in reference to a famous speech Hu Jintao made about "building a harmonious society".

Re:Use it or lose it (3)

Threni (635302) | about 4 months ago | (#45873301)

Yes, the Americans certainly seem very sensible with their understanding of the purpose of copyright. Just think, without a bizarre and constantly changing set of rules, material such as Happy Birthday and Mickey Mouse would be in the public domain, resulting in an ugly free-for-all which will strike at the heart of the creators of content everywhere. But specially in America.

Re:Use it or lose it (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | about 4 months ago | (#45874279)

Well they are registered in the .com TLD, which is basically United States namespace, so it would make sense that US trademark law would apply at least in terms of the domain name. I doubt some European company would be able to convince a US court to order Verisign to turn over the domain to them.

So at worst, I would think that Pinterest could continue to operate under the "Pinterest.com" domain name; the challenge would be whether they want to advertise in the European market, which might be prohibited without changing their name.

Re:Use it or lose it (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#45875911)

So at worst, I would think that Pinterest could continue to operate under the "Pinterest.com" domain name; the challenge would be whether they want to advertise in the European market, which might be prohibited without changing their name.

Pinterest themselves doesn't have to do business in Europe. They can create a separate company in Europe -- business partner that will perform an "Ad placement business"; place ads, transfer the funds (sans a commission) to pinterest.

Re:Use it or lose it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873375)

This isn't true. You can register a trademark based on "intent to use". You need to show actual use within 6 months, but the period can be extended for up to 3 years in 6 month increments: http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/teas/intent_to_use.jsp

Re:Use it or lose it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873675)

No, in the US you have to use a for it to be valid, you don't have to use an ®, merely show a connection to your company, and show that you registered it. The same is true in the UK.

Re:Use it or lose it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45876411)

I know nothing about UK law, but in the USA you have actually use a trademark for it to be valid. If they registered the mark in 2012, and still haven't used it in 2014, then they should be seen as squatters, not legitimate users of the mark.

Indeed, the UK law is similar here. A use of a trade mark is only illegal if there is a likelihood that it will cause confusion in the mind of a member of the public as to the identity of the user. As the registrant has never used the trade mark in a public context, there is zero chance of such confusion, therefore no infringement.

Weasfest (5, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 4 months ago | (#45872883)

From what the summary says, these people saw someone using the name for a US service and claimed the trademark in Europe before the US company could. This seems to me to be an exceptional example of abuse of the system.

Re:Weasfest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45872977)

From what the summary says, these people saw someone using the name for a US service and claimed the trademark in Europe before the US company could.

I don't see anything in the summary (or article) that says that.

Re:Weasfest (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 months ago | (#45873015)

They haven't used the mark in any public way.

Sounds exactly how some jack*ss tried to hijack the Linux trademark. If UK law allows for this sort of thing then that's rather sad really.

Re:Weasfest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873411)

Yeah, Linux is a brand of laundry detergent, who is that crazy Finn to try to steal the name?

Re:Weasfest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45874633)

Bullshit. Apple trademark their product names before they release iThing, just as Sony do, any every other player on the planet. More like some wanker US company used a name they thought was kewl but failed to do due diligence, or did, but being typical Dumericans thought they'd get away with it.

Re:Weasfest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873061)

Nice try, but no. The UK startup was named "Premium Interest", so its a logical trademark.

Re:Weasfest (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 4 months ago | (#45873151)

Except of course that the business does not actually use the trademark. Which suggests that it created its name for the purpose of giving it an excuse to register as a trademark the name used by Pinterest in the U.S..

Re:Weasfest (4, Informative)

Shimbo (100005) | about 4 months ago | (#45873163)

Nice try, but no. The UK startup was named "Premium Interest", so its a logical trademark.

However, it wasn't incorprated until April 2012.

Re:Weasfest (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45875811)

Nice try, but no. The UK startup was named "Premium Interest", so its a logical trademark.

That's good news for my new UK companies "MIniature CROcodile SOFa Tapestries", "FAmily CEsium BOrrowing of OKlahoma" and "Intentional British Mocking".

Re:Weasfest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45876237)

Nice try, but no. The UK startup was named "Premium Interest", so its a logical trademark.

Not really. The name "Premium Interest" doesn't seem like a very good name in the first place, and I don't see people connecting a name like Pinterest to it.

Re:Weasfest (5, Informative)

DRJlaw (946416) | about 4 months ago | (#45874323)

From what the summary says, these people saw someone using the name for a US service and claimed the trademark in Europe before the US company could. This seems to me to be an exceptional example of abuse of the system.

This seems to be a perfectly ordinary example of how the system works. Especially in countries other than the United States (excepting select other Anglo/common law countries).

In most countries, trademark rights are protected through registration and awarded to the first to file to use the mark in that country. Trademark 'squatting' is as unexceptional as the sun rising in the east. Take China, for example. [cnn.com]

The solution has been in existence for more than a century. The Madrid System [wipo.int] allows someone who files for a trademark in their home country to also file an international application that creates, at a minimum, priority rights to the mark in each contracting country. The international application can serve as a common application for each designated member state, or can be transformed into individual trademark filings in each member state.

The Paris Convention [wipo.int] also allows someone to file for the same trademark in almost any other country in the world within 6 months of when they first applied for the trademark elsewhere. If they do, that application will be treated as if filed on the first filing date. The downside is that you have to file individual trademark applications rather than a single international application.

Pinterest took neither route. Not only that, Pinterest didn't file an application to register its trademark anywhere before these people did. See here: [markmatters.com] .

The company Premium Interest filed the trademark PINTEREST in the European Union, 2 months before Pinterest filed its US trademark.

Whether out of desperation or sheer gall, Pinterest essentially argued that its business in the US somehow gave it prior trademark rights in Europe. See the same article: [markmatters.com]

Since the OHIM systematically rejected all the evidence as the evidence concerned the use of the mark in the US and not in the UK, Pinterest lost the opposition.

Summary for the TL;DR crowd: Disruptive internet startup presumed that it could claim worldwide trademark rights by registering a domain name and sorting out compliance with the law later. Startup was very wrong.

Re:Weasfest (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45875353)

Sigh. Another bullshit story about China. I notice there are no actual examples of names that were trademarked, just vague references to companies it allegedly happened to.

Chinese companies are trying to child their own brands. They want to do what the Japanese food with names like Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, NEC, Honda, Toyota, Sharp, Square-Enix, Capcom etc.

Sometimes Chinese brands have similar, but not identical names. Even that is no an attempt to confuse per-se. You have to understand that in China sometimes brand names come to represent a class of products, like hoover in the west. It's a signal that something is similar but usually cheaper, not a serious attempt at deception. Chinese people are not dumb, they are aware that a real Louis Viton bag is worth a lot more than a fake one, and that one costing 1/10the the price isn't real.

Re:Weasfest (1)

DRJlaw (946416) | about 4 months ago | (#45875795)

Actual example:

Tesla [globaltimes.cn]

I'm not going to spend unpaid time doing your research (for which I'm quite certain you don't actually want the results that you'll find) for you. Examples are legion. Deal with it.

Re:Weasfest (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 4 months ago | (#45875557)

Premium Interest should file a claim and get granted the domain name pinterest.com in a counter suit.

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45872889)

obligated to care Which allows Can be like Corporate If you do notP 'You see, even whether to repeat surprise to the progress. In 1992, it attempts to

Interesting... (0)

chalsall (185) | about 4 months ago | (#45872997)

It might be interesting to consider that Microsoft was able to claim a trademark on "Windows", "Word" and "Excel", et. al under US of A laws. Common words.

Perhaps this is simply an attempt by the EU to demonstrate that they also have laws which are to be followed under international treaties....

Re:Interesting... (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 4 months ago | (#45873287)

It might be interesting to consider that Microsoft was able to claim a trademark on "Windows", "Word" and "Excel", et. al under US of A laws. Common words.

Word and Excel are fine. They have nothing to do with the business that Microsoft is in, or with the product. "Windows" is a bit dubious because "Windows" is a computing term. Apple has trademarks for "Numbers" and "Pages".

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873339)

MS trademarked those terms specifically to computer software, not the words in general. You can make a toothpaste called Excel, but not a computer program. Likewise, you can manufacture and sell Mustang cologne but not a car. Apple Computer was sued for trademark infringement by Apple Corps (The Beatles) and was only allowed to keep their name if they stayed out of the music industry. When they bought and expanded iTunes, it meant further negotiations with Apple Corps.

There's nothing weird or odd about being able to trademark common words. There are far more common words trademarked than there are made-up words. Yahoo and Amazon are two other common words that are trademarked for certain things.

Re:Interesting... (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 4 months ago | (#45873875)

It might be interesting to consider that Microsoft was able to claim a trademark on "Windows",

Yes, but not without mentioning that Microsoft paid off Linspire/Lindows after they challenged the Windows trademark.

Re:Interesting... (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | about 4 months ago | (#45874339)

In the US, trademarks only extend as far as someone might be confused by their use. It's not a hard black and white line, but you can use "Word" if you wanted to, in an unrelated industry from Microsoft's, provided that nobody thought that customers might be confused and think that your product was, or was in some way related to, Microsoft's. (Obviously since Microsoft is such a big company and does so much stuff, this might be harder than if they were purely in the word processing business.)

A good example is Apple Records vs Apple Computer Corp. There was a lot of argument that went back and forth as to whether Apple Computers might be confused with Apple Records -- which seemed ridiculous at the time, because why would Apple Computer ever get into the music business? So they worked it out and came to a settlement to stay out of each other's turf. That happens very frequently. (It got interesting when Apple-the-computer-company decided to get into the music business; my understanding is that they made Apple Records an offer they couldn't refuse.)

And given how ubiquitous Microsoft's products are -- love them or hate them -- the breadth of their trademarks are probably not unreasonable. A no-name company ought not be able to assert a trademark with any similar breadth, because there's so little chance of confusion.

Just continue using it? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 4 months ago | (#45873005)

Why can't they just continue using the name let the people in EU access the .com site? This very well be a silly question, but I see this kind of thing come up once in a while and I've never been able to figure out the answer. There are no borders in the internet, so is there a reason they have to cater to this? If so, why hasn't some country like China simply done that for whatever US company it suddenly doesn't like or wants to screw over?

Re:Just continue using it? (1)

knobboy (113080) | about 4 months ago | (#45873263)

I was wondering the same thing. I understand why some services might brand with different regional domains, but some services don't seem to make sense to use anything other than the .com.

Re:Just continue using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873521)

The TLD is irrelevant: what matters is whether they're doing business in Europe under that name. And they probably need a business presence in Europe in order to sell ads and monetise those European users.

Re:Just continue using it? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#45875935)

The TLD is irrelevant: what matters is whether they're doing business in Europe under that name. And they probably need a business presence in Europe in order to sell ads and monetise those European users.

They could simply put a link on their website under the "Buy Ad" button, that redirects you to their European "Ad management partner" which does not do business under the name Pinterest, but manages the advertisements for various European clients, and transfers the money collected, to yet a third company in a different country, who is ultimately responsible for disbursal.

There would be no cause of action for other trademark claimaints to sue the European subsidiary over, since they aren't doing business under the name Pinterest --- they do business with a number of overseas companies to get client's ads placed.

Typical Slashdot whiners (-1)

bazmail (764941) | about 4 months ago | (#45873023)

Whining yanks. That is the law in Europe. Want to do business there? Then learn the fucking laws.

If the situation was reversed, the European CEO would probably be waterboarded in the US.

Most of you are just typical whining slashdot hypocrites.

Like what Budweiser did back then... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873047)

Funny that this happens also the other way round (EU-based company taking over a trademark of a US-based company in a hostile manner).

You probably don't know, but in the 19th century the Czech brewery Budweiser was exporting its lagers to the US. However, they didn't register the trademark (probably didn't know about it back then). And voila, Anheuser-Busch within 10 years registered the US trademark and started to make "beer" that was completely unlike the original (dating back to 13th century). Biggest audacity happened then in the '90s when they tried to squeeze out the original Czech brewery out of European market. As a consequence, EU banned the US Budweiser from ever using this name in Europe. You can get the original Budweiser/Budvar under then name Czechvar in the US nowadays.

Cheers!

Re:Like what Budweiser did back then... (1)

drunkenoafoffofb3ta (1262668) | about 4 months ago | (#45873335)

"As a consequence, EU banned the US Budweiser from ever using this name in Europe" Balls. I can buy it in English supermarkets. Did you mean The Czech authorities banned it (before they joined the EU who have trade agreements that would preclude that from happening)?

Re:Like what Budweiser did back then... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873433)

I recall seeing it in France under the 'Bud' moniker instead of the full Budweiser.

Re:Like what Budweiser did back then... (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#45874571)

I can't imagine anybody in Europe wanting to buy or drink the US-branded concoction known as Budweiser 'beer.'

Re:Like what Budweiser did back then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45874201)

Seems like the UK is a special case:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/15/budweiser-czech-anheuser-idUSL6N0AK7RF20130115

Nevertheless, in the rest of EU "Budweiser" is a regionally protected trademark, belonging to the Budvar/Budweiser brewery based in town originally called Budweis in Czech Republic. Original Budweiser is now winning court battles all over Europe regarding banning US Budweiser, most recently in Portugal in Italy.

Re:Like what Budweiser did back then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45875645)

Banning is the wrong word. They just have to sell it as "Bud".

Re:Like what Budweiser did back then... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45874661)

Lying limey cunt. No you cannot get US budweiser. Stupid snaggletooth lefty benefit additction twat. Budweiser is owned by a Belgium corporation. Why not stick to your wife-beater Stella knock-off made in Swindon, and get back to puking in the streets after buying an 8 pack for a fiver.

Re:Like what Budweiser did back then... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 4 months ago | (#45873447)

In the UK, both companies sell their product as Budweiser.

Re:Like what Budweiser did back then... (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 4 months ago | (#45873935)

In the UK, both companies sell their product as Budweiser.

One of them sells beer.

Re:Like what Budweiser did back then... (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 4 months ago | (#45874111)

That's not very fair on Budweiser; their product still tastes like beer... just beer that's already been through someone else.

Re:Like what Budweiser did back then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45873755)

Bollocks -
http://www.tesco.com/groceries/Product/Details/?id=268452394

Insane line of reasoning. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 4 months ago | (#45874263)

I will never understand this line of reasoning. A big American corporation did this terrible thing in the past, and so somehow it's now ok if British company does the same thing? Weren't you just saying that it was wrong for them to do it? It seems like you started your argument by stating that you are definitely on the wrong side of it.

Re:Insane line of reasoning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45874287)

A big American corporation did this terrible thing in the past, and so somehow it's now ok if British company does the same thing? Weren't you just saying that it was wrong for them to do it?

I don't see how the OP expresses any opinion on the Budweiser incident, except possibly "Funny".

Insane knee-jerk butthurt (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about 4 months ago | (#45875145)

A big American corporation did this terrible thing in the past, and so somehow it's now ok if British company does the same thing?

Not his point. At all.

Re:Like what Budweiser did back then... (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | about 4 months ago | (#45874473)

See also Havana Club rum and their trademark dispute with Bacardi, who claimed it in the US (with a little anti-Cuban US government help, of course).

Re:Like what Budweiser did back then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45874703)

Anheuser-Busch is now a Belgian company, so it isn't a "big American brewer" any more, although they try to look like one on American TV.

Happened to us too (3, Interesting)

mattbee (17533) | about 4 months ago | (#45873829)

A US startup called "Bytemark" started trading in the UK (my hosting company has been around since 2002). Like an idiot I asked them to please change their name because it could cause some confusion. Until then I'd not considered trademark issues, and we finally filed for a trademark of our own. Of course they filed 2 weeks before us, after I'd sent my polite request. So 2 years and about £20,000 later (only finished just last month) we defeated their objection to our trademark at a hearing, and the trademark office gave us full rights over the name. If it hadn't gone that way we could have been harassed into changing our 10-year old brand name, especially if we'd gone into any new areas of business.

My takeaway from that is that if I start another business I'll take on registration of the UK, EU & possibly US trademark as a given before launching. But when you're just starting out, it is (at best) thousands of pounds that could really be put to better use.

Bah! (1)

anatoli (74215) | about 4 months ago | (#45874127)

I propsose they take the name "Shminterest". Can swap my rights to it for a modest stash of Queen's portraits.

Premium Interest is too long a name anyway (2)

Forever Wondering (2506940) | about 4 months ago | (#45875981)

Probably why they trade marked pinterest (3 syllables) vs "Premium Interest" (6 syllables). But, legalities aside [even if Pinterest is forced to change its name], the term pinterest is already poisoned for use by Premium Interest. The market already associates the term with pinterest.com. Trying to use it for another company is just adding an additional burden on Premium Interest.

Premium Interest appears to be a muddled/watered down version of reddit (2 syllables). (P)Interestingly, on the premiuminterest.com page, they have a "like" button called "Pi Score".

The smart (entrepreneurial/business/non-lawyering) way out for everybody: Sell the trademark to pinterest. Change premiuminterest.com to piscore.com (2 syllables).

Even without the trademark flap, "Premium Interest" is a lousy name for a business. Barry Diller changed askjeeves.com to ask.com. Everybody remembers Google but [virtually] nobody remembers AltaVista. Lycos? The exception that proves the rule, I guess ...

Time will tell whether Alex Hearn is half as savvy a businessman as Diller.

two plans... (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about 4 months ago | (#45876127)

plan one.. guys with billy clubs and rubber hoses to get this conflict "resolved" properly with the smart ass lawyers.

plan two.... get a new name, change your branding, and sink "pinterest.com" so deep in porn links it becomes utterly toxic and blocked by all the new UK porn filters!

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