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Pinterest lost the 'pin' trademark battle

Pinterest has lost two lawsuits, one in the UK and one in the US, which it used to try and force companies to stop using the word “pin” in their apps.

Pinterest has been fighting multiple companies for quite some time now, trying to force everyone to stop using the word “pin”.

These two particular cases revolve around companies called Pintrips (US), which is a travel start-up, and Free118 (UK), a location-based mobile directory. The funny thing is that Free118 doesn’t even use the word “pin” in its name. It does, however, use the word “pinmydeal” for one of the central actions of its service.

If you’re creating an app, website or other service designed to be used with Pinterest, give it a distinctive name,” Pinterest writes in its brand guidelines. It’s fine to say the product is for use with Pinterest as long as you pick a distinct brand for your product. Don’t use ‘pin’ or ‘Pinterest’ in the name. Don’t register a domain name containing ‘pin,’ ‘pinterest’ or any misspellings, transliterations or similar variations on Pinterest.”

Both courts ruled on similar logic – the word “pin” is simply too generic to be trademarked and protected for the use of Pinterest alone.

“Pinterest cannot prohibit other companies from using the word pin to describe that well-known operation, which is exactly how the evidence demonstrates that Pintrips uses the word pin here,” the court wrote in the U.S. decision.

Pinterest has declined to comment on the Free118 case in the UK, but according to Tech Crunch (opens in new tab), there are no plans to appeal the decision reached by the Trademark Office.

Sead Fadilpašić
Sead Fadilpašić

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.