Pinterest’s trademark cases in the US and UK are unsuccessful

Pinterest – the popular social media channel – has lost two lawsuits, one in the UK and the other in America.

Lawyers working on behalf of the social media platform argued that other companies should not be allowed to make any reference to the word “pin” in the content of their apps and online material.

Legal battles relating to the use of the word have been fought by the social media platform for a long time, but the two cases in question relate to a start-up travel business registered in America – Pintrips – and a UK company named Free118, which is a location-based mobile directory.

Free118 does not use the term “pin” in any of its company literature; however, it does use the term “pinmydeal” for customers to use as part of its app service offering, which Pinterest has argued goes against its rights.

Any business hoping to utilise an app, website or other service that uses Pinterest is warned by the platform that the developer must use a distinctive name.

Pinterest states that it accepts companies saying that their product works by using Pinterest as long as it has a distinct brand – without the use of “pin” or “Pinterest” in its name – so it cannot cause confusion for consumers.

However, the courts in America and the UK dismissed Pinterest’s lawsuits, arguing that “pin” cannot be trademarked and protected because it is too commonplace.

As a result, Pinterest cannot raise any objections to other companies using the word if it is being used to describe the action of pinning.

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Nigel is the Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett.