27 October 2020TrademarksSarah Morgan

Tech company takes Zoom to court over TM infringement

Technology company Zapier has accused Zoom Video Communications of trademark infringement, through the launch of Zoom’s new ‘Zapps’ function for integrating third-party apps.

Zapier specialises in online automation tools that connect and integrate third party internet apps. The automated workflows used by Zapier are referred to as ‘Zap’ or ‘Zaps’.

In the complaint—filed yesterday, October 27 at the US District Court for the Northern District of California—Zapier claimed that it had worked with Zoom in 2015 to integrate Zoom with other third-party apps.

“Since that time Zapier and its users have created many hundreds of Zaps to integrate Zoom with other apps. Accordingly, as demonstrated above, Zoom is completely aware of Zapier’s use of ‘Zap’ and ‘Zaps’ and the overlap with Zapp,” said the suit.

It added that Zoom’s website currently contains instructions on how to create a Zap and integrate third party apps with Zoom through Zaps.

The complaint alleged that Zapps, which was launched earlier this month by Zoom, is already confusing people and that hundreds of tweets and comments have been posted,  questioning how Zoom could use Zapier’s product name and expressing confusion at Zoom’s use of ‘Zapps’.

Zapier claimed: “Instead of calling its new integration of third-party apps ‘Apps in Zoom’ or the ‘Zoom App Marketplace’ (which would be industry standard), Zoom is blatantly ripping off the decade of goodwill and premier reputation built by Zapier for its Zaps by using the phonetically identical and alternately spelled term ‘Zapps’.”

A quick look at the US Patent and Trademark Office reveals that Zapier owns a trademark for ‘Zapier’ (registered in 2014) and filed an application for ‘Zap’ on October 22.

Zapier’s CEO reached out to Zoom’s CEO to try to resolve this issue but has reportedly not received a response.

“While Zoom starting a new business is, of course, permissible, it is illegal for Zoom to misappropriate Zapier’s trademarks and unfairly compete by infringing on Zapier’s well-established usage of ‘Zap’ and ‘Zaps’  through naming its new business the aurally identical ‘Zapp’,” added the suit.

Zapier went on to claim that Zoom has no goodwill, history, or no viable reason for using the term ‘Zapps’, “other than to illegally extract value from Zapier’s trademarks, reputation, and goodwill”.

Now, Zapier has asked the court to enjoin Zoom from using the term ‘Zapp’ or any other identical sounding infringements on its trademarks. It’s also asked the court for triple damages and restitutionary relief.

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16 November 2020   Technology company Zapier has settled its suit with video conferencing platform Zoom, which it accused of infringing its ‘Zap’ trademark after Zoom launched a new app function in October.
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