Recently, in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court it was held that the defendant’s use of the sign “Muzmatch” for their online Islamic dating services amounted to trade mark infringement and passing off.
The claimant, Match Group LLC, is a well-known company who is the owner of Tinder, Match and Hinge. Match Group LLC are proprietors of numerous trade marks comprising of the word MATCH, along with the word and device mark for TINDER.
In response to the defendant use of the word “Muzmatch”, Match Group LLC issued a claim, claiming that the owners of Muzmatch were using the words MATCH and TINDER to increase customer engagement for their website as part of their search engine optimisation strategy.
Following this, the defendant admitted to the use of the word TINDER and gave an undertaking to discontinue the use. However, they denied liability to the claims relating to the use of the word MATCH.
Consequently, the court ruled that this presented a high possibility for customer confusion between Muzmatch and Match.com because of the degree of distinctiveness and reputation of the brand, Match.com, gained from their production of online dating services. It was concluded that this could have led an average consumer to deem that Muzmatch was in some way associated with Match.com. Thus, amounting to a trade mark infringement. Additionally, the court also measured the possibility of Muzmatch taking unfair advantage of Match.com’s classifiable reputation.
Furthermore, the claimant also succeeded to establish the required elements of passing off. Specifically, that there was an existence of goodwill and that the defendant’s use amounted to a misrepresentation, by which caused damage to Match.com’s goodwill.
If you would like to discuss protection of your brand, please get in touch with the Trademarkroom team today.
By Beyza Karakaya