11 April 2019

LinkedIn tethers kinky website Kinkedin

LinkedIn the website based business and employment-oriented [organisation] has successfully opposed an application for registration of KINKEDIN

Last week the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) ruled KINKEDIN could not be registered after LinkedIn said the registration would cause confusion amongst consumers and sully its reputation.

In August 2017, JK Solutions, a web services provider, filed an application to register the mark KINKEDIN under number 3251676 for services in Class 45 including Agency services for arranging personal introductions; Computer dating services; Internet based personal introduction services; Internet dating services; Internet-based social networking services; Video dating services. The application was published for opposition purposes in October 2017.

In January 2018 LinkedIn opposed the application on the basis the mark was highly similar to its own earlier European Union Trade Mark (EUTM) registration number 8411836 LINKEDIN and that it would cause consumers to believe there is a connection between the two companies.

LinkedIn claimed it has a significant goodwill under the sign and that the use of the mark KINKEDIN would amount to a misrepresentation causing damage to LinkedIn particularly if the services provided by the applicant are of an adult and sexual nature.

In its decision, the UKIPO ruled the registration of KINKEDIN would be damaging to LinkedIn’s reputation.

The UKIPO said it appears KinkedIn is a “casual kinky sex site catering for kinky or fetish interests”.

In addition the UKIPO also said the strength of reaction experienced will vary across different sections of the public and may not be altogether negative. Nevertheless, the image of a sex site is far removed from that which a professional network would want to cultivate and the mental connection between “LINKEDIN” and “KINKEDIN” would, even for those who see the joke, be liable to sully the reputation of LinkedIn’s trade mark and the services covered by the application and earlier trade mark were similar to a medium degree.

LinkedIn’s trade mark is registered in Class 45 for services including social introduction and networking services, which the UKIPO said was a broad enough term to encompass agency services for arranging personal introductions and computer dating services covered by the application for KINKEDIN.

Upon ruling the UKIPO found both marks to be aurally similar to a high degree, and that the only difference between the marks were the different letters “K” and “L” at the beginning of the marks.

Under Tribunal Practice Notice 2/2016, as the opposition was successful LinkedIn was awarded costs. Nevertheless the Decision is open to appeal.

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