Pinterest could be forced to change its name in the EU

Pinterest could be made to change its name in Europe following a trademark dispute with Premium Interest, a social news aggregator site.

The social pinning company, who recently acquired VisualGraph, has not formally entered the European market or even registered its name in the US, while rival Premium Interest registered the 'Pinterest' trademark in January 2012, two years after the US picture sharing service launched.

Judges at the European Commission Office for Harmonisation of the Internal Market (OHIM) said that Pinterest did not prove that it was well known enough on the continent to take the name, according to the ruling, which has recently been made public.

Adam Morallee, the lawyer who represented Premium Interest during the case, told TechCrunch: “Pinterest will have to change their name if they don’t get a licence from him.”

A spokeswoman for Pinterest said: "We expect to win on appeal because the Pinterest mark was, in fact, already famous and overwhelmingly associated with our service in Europe and throughout the world when Premium Interest filed its application.

"We submitted extensive evidence of fame in goodwill in the UK and the EU, but the OHIM rejected that evidence on the ground it didn't come from a neutral source. That requirement was legally improper and we expect that mistake to be corrected on appeal."

Pinterest can appeal the decision if it can provide documents to prove that it was already known in Europe at the time that the 2012 registration was made.

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