For those who don't know, the purpose of trademarks is to prevent customer confusion; essentially we don't want people to be able to sell cheap knock-offs of someone else's thing without the general public being able to easily distinguish between them. In practical terms, trademarks are "scoped" by their "goods and services" declarations.
For example, Apple the device manufacture and Apple the record label could both be trademarked because they had non-overlapping goods and services declarations... until iTunes started selling music.
If you look at kik's trademark application, you can clearly see that the trademark is limited to chat/media consumer applications, a pretty obvious over enforcement.
"KiK is the largest textile discounter chain in Germany and operates about 3,200 stores in Germany, Austria (since 1998), Slovenia and Czech Republic (since 2007), Hungary and Slovakia (since 2008), Croatia (since 2011) and Poland (since March 2012)."
There is a British company selling eCigs called Kik.co.uk too.
Seems Kik is a fairly common term, even for companies.
Smith is a very common surname. If one person starts the Smith Automobile Company and another person starts the Smith Farm, obviously there's no issue there. That's because none of us invented "Smith", it's understood to be a common name, etc.
On the other hand, if I start "The Google Paper Company", I'm pretty damn sure I would quickly and easily lose that case, despite the fact that google does not sell paper. And nobody would think that is weird, because Google is very obvious an invention (Yeah, I know, "googol", but the spelling makes it unique).
"Kik" is a lot closer to the "google" situation than the "apple" situation.
I guarantee you won't last long if you start a Coca-Cola School of Hairdressing, even though the beverage company doesn't compete for that business.
Feel free to start Kik Paper Co, however.
And keep in mind that the OP I was responding to was arguing that if the name is unique it gets extra protection. That's false. Fame offers extra protection, uniqueness does not.
Are you sure a court wouldn't consider that qualifying as a famous mark? I'm not going to dig into case law, but my guess is it very well could be.
"Evidence relevant to the fame of a trademark may include sales, advertising and revenue figures; geographical scope of use; channels of trade; registrations in home and other countries; past enforcement efforts; and the results of consumer recognition surveys (provided the survey methods are approved by the courts in that jurisdiction)." http://www.inta.org/TrademarkBasics/FactSheets/Pages/FamousW...
Teenagers represent 9.5% of the US population meaning that 3.8% of the US population (using their 40% figure) have "used" their app. Alternatively the 240 million registered users would imply about 3.5% of the total global population has used it.
I can say that I honestly have ZERO doubt that "kik" would never be ruled famous by any possible measure.
To be even reasonably certain in this case, I would need case law of similarly well-known brands being challenged. Do you have some? Capturing 40% of their target market seems pretty well known to me, but again, that's meaningless without the case law.
Mcdonald's was able to show that there would be consumer confusion DESPITE Mcdonald's not doing hotels nor Mcsleep inns not doing food.
As a result, Mcdonalds basically has an open trademark enforcement on "Mc-" whatever.
While I'm not fond of the judgement here, it was nonetheless decided thusly, and contradicts your otherwise accurate (so far as I know) statement. (And to weaken my own point, I believe Apple lost a similar case about i<whatever>, so nothing here is clear and reliable.)
Surely opening up a new API doesn't give them retroactive rights to the name in that space.
Technically, Kik (the company) registered their trademark in the class "Computer Software" . That means that no-one else can use the word Kik (and the logo) for this class of activity. The key issue is when the registration happened. Since they've been going since 2009, and Kik (the software project) only started in 2015, Kik the company was there first.
The reason their lawyers are asking for "Kik the project" to change name is because trademarks can become generic if you're not seen to protect your mark . As a private company (particularly VC funded), IP has a lot of financial value: the business will be valuing their trademark. If they don't protect it then they'll be "throwing money away".
The fact that the business world (and VC's generally) highly value IP is why most people over-register. If they didn't go for wide classes, and then in a few years decided to work in a particular area they might not have rights to their "own name" in that class.
It's a case of the Open Source and Business world-views clashing.
 Someone else in the thread found the specifics but the link doesn't work for me.
 Everyone knows the example of Spam.
Please show an example of someone other than Hormel Foods Corporation marketing a meat product using any derivative of the name 'Spam' and getting away with it.
You don't seem to be very well informed.
That is not what happened here though.
Computer software for use with mobile phones and portable
computing devices to:
- download audio, video, digital photos and programs;
- electronic payment systems, namely, a computer application
software used for processing electronic payments to and
- computer software for use with mobile phones and portable
computing devices to create video and digital photos to share
with other users; computer software for use with mobile phones
to launch other applications and connect to other software
I'd suggest it's certainly not obvious over-enforcement.
Both kik names exist in the realm of software. There's an argument to be made for confusion.
As a public service, some toilet or compost bin manufacturer ought to start "violating" trademarks by naming toilets etc. after litigious companies. We'd all get a kik out of hearing them argue that database consumers are likely to confuse the Oracle database with the Oracle water closet. [EDIT: "Sure it's a CRUD app, but I'm more interested in Deletion than Retrieval!"]
Of course there are arguments to be made; lawyers are involved.
Confusion. Microsoft is very likely to prevail in the infringement lawsuit.
This matter has even already been litigated. Microsoft Windows is a valid trademark, Windows is not defensible.
Please see lindows aka linspire.
Oh yeah, it seems like M$ were on the verge of winning that appeal, and only discontinued (and paid Lindows a multiple of its annual profit) out of pity.
- The only thing you can say about a trademark dispute like this, given the information that's public, is that "it depends on the specific situation as well as the perception of a large enough user base who might get confused".
- Trademark owners can ask (or C&D demand) just about whatever they want. What they could actually force you to do in a court is far, far less than what they typically ask.
Agreed, but you can do this without pissing off everybody in the universe.
Before, I had no idea who kik was. Now, I know them as a bunch of jerks.
Big fail for a "social media" company.
This is on their homepage. They want developer to use their Pedo enabler API.
This is not limited to only issuing cease and desists. Kik Interactive can offer a zero cost license for the trademark if they want to assert their ownership, but let the project continue to use their name.
NPM should have already had policies in place to prevent this kind of tampering with its repository.