Spotify blocks trademark for weed delivery app ‘Potify’ – Billboard

Spotify has won a court ruling preventing a small company from obtaining a federal trademark over “Potify” – the name of an online platform that connects users to marijuana dispensaries.

A federal court ruled on Monday that the proposed trademark, researched by a company called US Software Inc., was so “strikingly similar” to Spotify’s famous name that granting it would likely “dilute” the strength of the music streamer’s trademark.

“Because the marks are so similar in their appearance and sound, as well as in their structure, cadence and essential nature, Plaintiff’s mark will cause consumers to evoke [Spotify]’s famous trademark, and combine the two,” wrote the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, a court-like body within the federal trademark office that resolves such disputes over trademark names. similar.

Potify, which offers both a website and a smartphone app, bills itself as the “easiest way to find the best medical marijuana in seconds.” The service allows users to search for types of cannabis and connect with a local dispensary to have it delivered.

The company applied to register its name as a federal trademark in 2017, but Spotify soon filed a lawsuit seeking to block the application. Replaced by Silicon Valley Law Firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the streaming giant argued that consumers would think the pot service was somehow related to Spotify, or at the very least that it would dilute the distinctiveness of its name.

In Monday’s decision, the board sided with Spotify’s arguments, blocking the registration of the Potify trademark. He ruled that Spotify is “among the most recognizable brands in the United States” – and that the Potify co-founders who listen to Spotify probably deliberately chose a name that sounded similar.

“It defies logic and common sense that a longtime and frequent Spotify user and another longtime Spotify user jointly came up with the very similar name ‘Potify’ without either intending to do so or knowing that other users of the incredibly popular Spotify service would partner Potify with Spotify,” the board wrote.

In a statement to Billboard, a Potify attorney said he and his clients disagreed with the board’s decision in favor of Spotify, which he described as giving “overly broad protection to their brand”.

“This precedent only gives big, powerful brands even more leeway to enforce their brands against less powerful companies and individuals,” said Kevin Davis, lawyer at Trojan Law Office.

Monday’s decision does not prevent Potify from continuing to use the name; it just means that the company could not get its own trademark registration from it. But TTAB cases are often the prelude to trademark infringement lawsuits, and the board’s decision this week would give Spotify plenty of ammunition to bring such a case.

The decision can be appealed in federal court.

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