Kinbook, LLC v. Microsoft Corporation

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Trademarks
  • Date Filed: 01-25-2012
  • Case #: 10-4828
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Pratter
  • Full Text Opinion

In a reverse trademark infringement case, the senior trademark owner still must demonstrate that he or she still has a distinct mark.

Kinbook, LLC (“Kinbook”) was a small online social networking software company who sued Microsoft Corporation (“Micorsoft”), a software giant and maker of the XBOX video game console, for unfair competition and reverse trademark infringement. Kinbook developed a Facebook add-on application, and registered its name, “Kinbox,” with the Patent & Trademark Office. After Kinbook trademarked the name “Kinbox,” Microsoft developed a peripheral for their XBOX console named “Kinect,” as well as a smart phone named “KIN.” Kinbook alleged that because of Microsoft’s superior marketing power, Microsoft detrimentally affected the fortunes of Kinbook’s business through “reverse trademark infringement,” which occurs when a larger junior-trademark owning company uses the trademark of a smaller senior-trademark owning company. Microsoft motioned for summary judgment, arguing that there was no likelihood of confusion between the parties’ marks. The District Court agreed with Microsoft, noting that even if Kinbook could establish a market presence with their limited resources, no one in their respective markets, social media and video game enthusiast, could confuse the products’ marks. Microsoft’s motion for summary judgment was GRANTED.

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