Snapchat recently announced that it would now be known as Snap Inc. in a rebranding meant to send the message that the company was "bigger than one app." But in aiming to broaden itself into a storytelling platform for the likes of Disney and others, Snapchat has run into Snap Interactive, a publicly traded company that operates dating applications for social media websites.
On Tuesday, Snap Interactive filed a trademark lawsuit and demanded an injunction to prevent the name change.
The plaintiff says it recently merged with Paltalk, a live chat service company, and has been using its name since 2008 with a trademark registration for "online social networking services."
According to the complaint, "Defendant's use of SNAP INC. as a trade name will lead consumers of Defendant's products and services to believe, mistakenly, that Defendant's company is part of a joint venture between Plaintiff and Defendant, that Defendant's company is related to or is the same company as Plaintiff, or that Defendant's goods and services offered under the SNAP INC. name come from or are approved or authorized by Plaintiff - and/or that Defendant is the source of Plaintiff's products and services (i.e., reverse confusion)."
A New York federal judge is told the danger of confusion is heightened by word of a potential $25 billion IPO for Snapchat.
The complaint, filed on behalf of the company by attorneys at Fross Zelnick, makes clear that the plaintiff is not looking to prevent Snapchat from being "Snapchat," but the demanded injunction fairly expansively targets description of products, use of URLs and other activity. Snap Interactive also is looking for damages on its claims of unfair competition and trademark infringement.
We've reached out to Snapchat - or Snap Inc. - for comment.
© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.
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