So it seems not all is well in the social media world. Recently, Pinterest tried to trademark its logo – the stylized P in a combination of red and white – but Path quashed their hopes by requesting a 90 day extension to file an opposition.
As a matter of procedure, once a trademark application is filed with the U.S. trademark office, the logo is put out to the public for viewing. If anyone (whether company or individual) has an objection to the registration, said company or individual may file an opposition with the trademark office within the prescribed time. Alternatively, objectors may also request an extension to file the opposition, giving the opposition enough time to prepare their case on why the particular mark should not be registered.
Path’s logo is so similar to Pinterest’s stylized “P” that it is sure to create confusion among consumers. Especially since Pinterest seems to be more popular, chances are consumers will confuse Path to be the same as Pinterest or, at the very least, a part of Pinterest’s business. So Path will fight tooth-and-nail to make a case. But it is too early yet to predict whether Path will ultimately succeed.
Path may not be able to completely restrict Pinterest from using their logo unless they are able to prove they have a trademark over the similarly designed “P” (and thus Pinterest is infringing upon it). However, if Path succeeds it can prevent Pinterest from making future claims of infringement against Path and similar logos.
So the question is - is a stylized “P” on a red backdrop sufficiently unique for trademark registration? Many on Quora and TechCrunch are also drawing a comparison with the Philadelphia Phillies logo (Right-most image above), a logo that has been used by the baseball team decades before either Path or Pinterest was created!
It seems best for Path and Pinterest to settle this battle both amicably and cost-effectively instead of spending high attorney fees, perhaps by entering into an agreement to create a slightly modified version of the “P” such as, for example, changing the background to another color. Branding and identify is quintessential for every media company. Therefore, it is advantageous for both companies to design distinctly and so as to not be confused with the other. Such a battle of stylized alphabets is not new to the market, yet it will be interesting to see how the two respond. This stands as a great example for startups, who need to be very careful when designing their logos.