PayPal Claims Trademark Infringement Over the Pandora App Logo

By Joseph Mandour on May 25, 2017

San Diego – The famous online payment app, PayPal, is suing the famous online music streaming app, Pandora, for trademark infringement and trademark diffusion. The lawsuit, which was filed in Manhattan federal court, is in reaction to Pandora’s change of its logo late last year.

Trademark dilution varies from standard trademark infringement in that it focuses on famous trademarks. The law forbids the use of trademarks that are similar enough to a famous trademark such that it would lessen the uniqueness of the famous trademark.

When Pandora changed its logo in October of 2016, the streaming music service launched a logo that was drastically simplified, featuring a blue capital ‘P’ with a white background. PayPal claims that the logo is so similar to PayPal’s long established logo, which features two blue capital ‘Ps’ on white background, that it is causing customer confusion. In the lawsuit, PayPal included many examples of posts on social media from customers who admitted to being confused between the two apps. One tweet from a customer stated that they were confused when they clicked on the PayPal app and “The Bare Naked Ladies” started playing.

PayPal claims that the infringement is damaging the company in several ways. First, PayPal claims to have invested considerable amounts of time and energy into creating an “iconic” logo. In a statement they made regarding their logo, PayPal outlined how every piece of the logo was meticulously crafted. Every aspect of the logo, from the shape of the Ps, their proximity to each other, the color scheme, the shading, and even the placement on the app tile was designed to give the customer a sense of convenience, simplicity, and security. Since Pandora’s trademark is so similar, PayPal is concerned that the confusion will erode the customer confidence PayPal has built over the years.

Also, PayPal prides itself on customer convenience. If clients are mistakenly clicking on Pandora instead of PayPal, it adds an extra step to the purchasing process. This, they feel, is an unnecessary inconvenience to the customer and is, therefore, damaging to their brand and company.

Pandora has not responded to request for comment on the lawsuit. However, these charges come at a challenging time for the streaming music company. Pandora has been struggling financially in the face of competition from Apple Music, Spotify, and other online music apps.

PayPal is seeking an injunction against Pandora and is suing the company for an undisclosed amount in damages.

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