LINKEDIN successfully opposed the registration of mark KINKEDIN in UK. JK Solutions applied to register KINKEDIN in class 45 for services involving services broadly involving Internet dating services. LINKEDIN opposition was based upon Sections 5(2)(b), 5(3) and 5(4)(a) of the Trade Marks Act, 1994.
Registrar allowed the opposition under Section 5(3) of UK Trademarks Act, 1994 holding that ‘LINKED’ means that two things are connected, physically or otherwise, ‘KINKED’ means that something is twisted or not straight, or that something is unusual or abnormal, which would include, for the UK consumer, unusual sexual proclivities.
LINKEDIN and KINKEDIN shared a high degree of visual and aural similarity though is conceptually very different, wherein conceptual dissimilarity counteracts and dominates.
That the concept of damage comprise not always damage done to the earlier mark but also the advantage the latter mark is deriving out of the earlier mark as marketing leg-up. Applicant is found to use the tagline “Like LinkedIn….. nah…. not really”, followed by “smiling face with horns” emoji.
KINKEDIN intended to reach out to people without investing much effort taking unfair advantage of the a successful online network with a large number of subscribers, which will make the mark KINKEDIN instantly familiar and that wrongly perceived linkage of professional networking services of LINKEDIN with an online dating services KINKEDIN would sully the reputation and would damage the image of LINKEDIN.