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No trademark for ‘kinky’ Kinkedin

May 2019. Did JK Solutions really think they’d get away with it – giving their ‘kinky’ dating site the name ‘KinkedIn’ and then registering it as a trademark? At the beginning of April, the UK Intellectual Property Office announced that the opposition filed against the registration by global mobile app operator LinkedIn had been upheld. So no registration for KinkedIn after all.

Confusing and damaging

LinkedIn filed its opposition with the UK trademark office UKIPO, arguing that registration of the strongly similar name KinkedIn would lead to confusion. It also claimed that if LinkedIn were associated with a kinky dating site, this would harm its brand.

The KinkedIn website (right), complete with slogans somewhat inappropriate to LinkedIn

Reputational damage

On 4 April, UKIPO found in favour of LinkedIn. The image of the KinkedIn dating site, with its striking slogans, is rather different to that of the professional network LinkedIn. An almost identical name of this kind could therefore cause reputational damage to the LinkedIn trademark, UKIPO concluded. KinkedIn was therefore refused registration in the UK.

Mystery

It remains a mystery why anyone would choose a name that’s so similar to the world-famous LinkedIn trademark to denote a dating website. Surely they would realise right from the start that they’d get nowhere? So far, it’s only the trademark registration that’s failed, but there’s little doubt that LinkedIn will soon be taking action against the use of the name KinkedIn too. That’s when things will really hot up, as KinkedIn will then face an expensive legal bill followed by a costly rebranding exercise. On the other hand, they’ve generated some publicity for themselves. For what it’s worth.

Bas Kist