By now, Tinder is probably in the common lexicon. The dating app has been fairly successful, boasting something like 50 million people using it and managing to make something like 12 million matches per day. It’s a household name, in other words, which is what makes it a bit strange to see the company bother to oppose a fairly silly trademark application by one guy who designed a dating app to get dating matches for exactly one person: himself.
Shed Simove called the app Shinder and said he built it to find himself a partner. However, when he tried to trademark it, a Notice of Threatened Opposition was filed to the Intellectual Property Office by dating giant Tinder.
“I think it’s a case of a big corporate giant looking at an entrepreneur who sees the world differently and being punitive,” he said. “It’s unlikely that the female population will stop using Tinder and start using Shinder.”
To be clear, the attempt to trademark “Shinder” itself is silly. The app was created by Shed Simove for the sole purpose of getting himself a date. He’s the only dude on the roster. While the app attempts to recruit women to use it, he’s the only option for them. It would be kind of funny, if it weren’t so creepy. The attempt to trademark Shinder, according to Simove, was done because he’s thought about white-labeling the app for any individual to use. And yes, this is every bit as dumb and probably not trademarkable as it sounds.
“If it was ‘white label ‘ – that would mean if I chose to I could take the raw guts of the code and allow people to have their own versions. Jane could have Jinder, and so on.”
Jinder? Please. The whole point of trademark law is to keep customers from being confused between products and services. There is a roughly zero chance that anyone is going to mistake Tinder, megalith in the dating app world as it is, for Shinder, an app used by almost nobody created by one guy to get himself a date. Why Tinder is even bothering with this is beyond me.
Although, because every funny story needs an even funnier punchline, Tinder was not the only one concerned.
He also received a letter from lawyers representing the elevator firm Schindler. Schindler asked him to commit to refraining from entering the elevator or escalator market.
If trademark law has gotten to this point, is it time we contemplate whether it’s serving its purpose any longer?
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Author: Timothy Geigner