Pinterest v. Pintrips - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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Pinterest v. Pintrips

Pinterest v. Pintrips

Pinterest filed suit against a personal travel planning startup, Pintrips. The social network accuses Pintrips of trademark infringement, false designation of origin, unfair competition and trademark dilution. The startup’s recent decision to adopt a social media brand similar to Pintrest’s plays a big role in the suit. Pinterest claims that Pintrip’s “Pin” button is confusingly similar to their “Pin It” button. Pintrest also alleges infringement based on Pintrip’s similar website design. Pinterest’s image-led collection links, known as “pinboards,” allow users to share topics with one another and save “pins” to various dashboards of their choosing. Topics include titles such as “For the Home” and “Fashion”. Pintrips has an online dashboard where users can track price changes in flights they may be interested in taking. Users may collate flights by way of a browser plug-in. A “Pin” button then appears next to different flight offers on various airlines as well as searches on web-search engines. By clicking on the button, the results get added to one’s Pintrips dashboard.

The most obvious similarity between the two is the names. Pinterest claims that Pintrips sounds very similar to Pinterest and may be confusingly similar to users and marketers. Pinterest also claims confusion may be detrimental because their network contains a substantial amount of content about travel. Claiming to make a “particularly big splash” in travel content, Pintrest plans to have travel services, like airlines and hotels, use the network as a marketing platform with their services. This isn’t Pinterest’s first claim to the “Pin” name, even going so far as to outline rules against companies that use names that sound too much like its own. Branding rules include using a distinctive name and to not “use ‘pin’ or ‘pinterest’ as a part of a brand name.” Last month the company won a $7.2 million suit against alleged serial cybersquatter, Qian Jin, in a United States District Court in San Francisco. In addition to a large award for damages and legal fees, the social network won control of 100 domain names including pintesrest.com and pinterests.com.

Pinterest claims that all efforts to dissuade Pintrips from infringing on Pinterest’s name have been ignored. Pinterest also claims that PinTrips deliberately adopted the name to cause confusion with their popular service and that the travel site deliberately uses the “pin” button to gain off the goodwill of Pinterest’s “pin it” button. Pintrips has not made any statements on the issue or the case.

Pinterest was founded in 2010 and pinned its way to becoming the third largest social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter. The social network allows users to collect and share ideas about a plethora of topics, including travel, fashion and books by “pinning” on boards specified by category. Pintrips was founded in 2011, aiming to ease the stressful environment of coordinating travel plans. The site aims to do this by allowing users to “bookmark” specific flights from all travel sites already in use, track and compare them, and collaborate with others members.

Nneka Witter

Nneka Witter is a second year Fordham Law student and an IPLJ staff member. Her interest in trademark and copyright law was sparked by her love for music and background in communications. In her spare time she enjoys going to concerts, taking trips to her hometown of Chicago, and eating carbs.