22 July 2019TrademarksRory O'Neill

TripAdvisor hits back at ‘straight pride’ organisers

TripAdvisor has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the organisers of a ‘Straight Pride’ parade in Boston after they claimed the online travel guide company as a “prospective corporate sponsor”.

A spokesperson for TripAdvisor has confirmed the authenticity of the letter, telling WIPR that the company does “not support or endorse this event”.

The letter, sent Friday, July 19 was circulated widely on social media after the review site’s lawyers included references to pro-LGBTQ+ songs while demanding the parade stop use of its trademark

“I’m Coming Out and saying this clearly: you are infringing upon TripAdvisor’s IP rights,” said TripAdvisor’s vice president and associate general counsel, Bradford Young, in the letter.

“We have become a well-known brand for our reviews of hotels, restaurants, experiences and even the occasional YMCA, but we weren’t Born This Way – we obtained that recognition through significant advertising and promotion since as early as 2000,” the letter added.

A company spokesperson told WIPR that “TripAdvisor is a proud and inclusive workplace”, and said the organisers of the parade owed the LGBTQ+ community an apology.

Organisers of the parade posted a graphic featuring the logos of companies it had contacted for potential sponsorship.

Companies including Netflix, JP Morgan, Bank of America, and Gillette have all declined the opportunity to back the event.

Lawyers for Netflix emailed the group behind the parade, known as “Super Happy Fun America”, warning that the streaming service was considering legal action over the use of its trademark.

“You are using the Netflix logo to promote your event, which despite its name is about hate - not pride,” the email said.

“Our legal department is here, it’s queer, and it’s telling you to steer clear,” Netflix added.

Straight Pride’s organisers claim that the purpose of the straight pride parade, scheduled to be held in Boston on August 31, is to “celebrate the diverse history, culture, and contributions of the straight community”.

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