16 November 2020TrademarksMuireann Bolger

Zoom resolves trademark spat with rival

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.

On November 12, Zapier voluntarily dismissed “with prejudice” its suit against Zoom Video Communications at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. 

According to the filing, Zoom did not serve an answer or a motion for summary judgment in the proceeding and Zapier has “not filed a motion for class certification”.

Zapier specialises in online automation tools that connect and integrate third-party internet apps, and its automated workflows are known as ‘Zap’ or ‘Zaps’.

The technology company sued Zoom Video Communications after it launched ‘Zapps’, a function for integrating third-party apps.

In the complaint, Zapier claimed that it had worked with Zoom in 2015 to provide it with third-party apps and alleged that Zoom had created consumer confusion with the launch of its ‘Zapps’ function.

It said 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’.”

Zapier claimed 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”.

It added: “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’,” said the suit.

During the height of the pandemic, the Financial Times reported that the number of medium and larger companies using Zoom was up more than three-fold from a year before, while revenue soared 169%.

Zoom went on to have one of the most successful IPOs of the year, with its share price rising 72% on its first day of trading alone, according to Forbes.

WIPR has approached Zapier and Zoom for comment.

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