MANHATTAN (CN) — PayPal has sued music-streamer Pandora for copyright and trademark infringement violations, claiming Pandora’s new logo “mimics the PayPal Logo in almost every respect.”
The Friday complaint in Federal Court boils down to a fight between alliterative online giants over rights to have the letter P in a light blue and white box, to be used as icons on smartphones and other electronic devices.
PayPal claims Pandora’s new logo appropriated the key elements of PayPal’s logo, “including the minimalist look and feel, the blue color palette, and the counterless sans serif capital P.” Pandora’s redesign was “an effort to reinvent its longstanding logo and convey a vibrant, bold, forward-looking service akin in customer focus to PayPal’s,” PayPal says in the complaint.
Paypal, an online payment service, claims that Pandora’s new logo dilutes the marketplace, as “the companies are in direct competition for the precious ‘real estate’ on the screens of consumers’ mobile devices.”
PayPal’s logo consists of two overlapping P’s in light and dark blue. It calls its logo “a centerpiece of PayPal’s brand identity both on mobile devices and more generally.”
PayPal added in a statement: “We have invested significant time, money and energy into ensuring that our distinctive P logo easily identifies PayPal on mobile devices. In the face of this substantial investment and resulting goodwill, Pandora adopted a blatantly infringing logo. The striking similarities were immediately the topic of news articles and social media commentary by confused customers.”
The lawsuit cites social media posts from confused consumers, such as: “I was a little confused when I opened PayPal and Bare Naked Ladies started playing …”
Paypal wants Pandora permanently enjoined from using the new logo “and any logo featuring a block-style, minimalist, sans serif and counterless blue P.”
Pandora, which declined to comment. It launched its aesthetic rebranding in October 2016, changing the app’s smartphone icon for the first time since Pandora arrived on the iPhone in 2008.
Julie Scelzo, Pandora’s executive creative director, responsible for the rebranding, said the new look “doesn’t feel too hipster, doesn’t feel too country. It can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.”
PayPal is represented by Jeremy Fiegelson with Debevoise & Plimpton.