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Zapier vs Zoom: Lawsuit Puts Long-Time Partners at Odds

While many businesses were damaged by the COVID-19 outbreak, teleconferencing company Zoom found astounding success. Explosive growth has led the company to expand its reach into other markets, and this has resulted in a Zoom lawsuit mere months after the company had its initial public offering. Strangely enough, the case involves Zoom’s long-time partner, Zapier.

Zapier vs Zoom: Lawsuit Filed In Court

On October 26, the technology automation company Zapier filed a lawsuit against Zoom in the Northern District of California. While some will be confused by the case filing – considering the two companies have had a partnership for over five years – many who have seen Zoom’s latest offerings have already expressed their lack of surprise.

Zoom recently announced that it would offer app integration technology in its platform. It plans on calling this technology “Zapps.” Throughout the many years that Zapier has existed, though, its app integration technology has been called “Zaps.” The Zoom lawsuit filing even provides examples where Zoom openly promoted the company via this terminology.

The court filing claims the following were violated:

In the case of Zapier vs Zoom, the former company is seeking a jury trial. They claim in their filing that they tried to deal with the issue outside of court – only to be ignored by the larger company. They’re requesting temporary restraining orders, actual damages, punitive damages and treble damages in addition to attorneys’ fees, restitution and any additional remedies.

Background of Zapier and Zoom

Zapier and Zoom seemed like the perfect match. Tech Republic even called the former an “essential Zoom app.” Zapier could automate actions within different apps, and this includes events that occur within the Zoom platform. If someone signed up for a Zoom meeting, for instance, Zapier could immediately have the info sent to MailChimp for email marketing.

Zoom announced a partnership with the automation company in September 2015. Their announcement ended with “Happy Zooming and Zapping.” Zoom has understandably decided to extend its own brand ever since growing in popularity during 2020, but calling its own integration software “Zapps” may benefit directly from Zapier’s established “Zaps” recognition.

Many individuals immediately took to Twitter upon the announcement to point out that this action could constitute trademark infringement. Indeed, this is one of the claims made in the Zoom lawsuit filed by Zapier. There’s no way to know how a specific case will turn out, but it will be interesting to see how Zoom justifies their use of a term so blatantly similar to “Zaps.”

What Happens Now?

Even though Zapier has requested a jury trial, there’s no guarantee that the case will make it that far. The two companies could come to a settlement agreement before it ever finds its way to a courtroom. If the Zoom lawsuit will be contested by the video conferencing company, though, they’ll need to file an answer directly with the court.

Assuming no settlement is reached, this will be an interesting case to see play out. Even though Zapier appears to have only filed trademark applications for “Zapier”and on October 22 “Zap”, the trademarks are obviously similar and Zapier has common law trademark rights regardless of a trademark application. Stay tuned for more to come.

 

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