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Web-Design Firm Kindles a Lawsuit Against Tinder

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The "hookup" service Tinder hurts the reputation of a web-design company that's been using the Tinder mark for five years, WildFireWeb claims in Federal Court.

In the complaint filed against Tinder and IAC/Interactive on Feb. 10, WildFireWeb says it has been using the Tinder mark, based on the word's relation to the name WildFire, since February 2010 for its content-management system.

The dating app allegedly took off in or around August 2012, according to the complaint.

WildFireWeb's Tinder mark begins in orange and fades to yellow. It points out that Tinder's mark also is in orange, in a similar font, and that neither capitalize the "T."

Based on the nature of the dating app, WildFireWeb says its reputation could suffer damage from the confusion caused by its similar mark. It claims that people have explicitly told WildFireWeb that they were confused by the similarity.

"Since its inception, defendants' business has been controversial," the complaint states. "It has been referred to as a 'hookup' or 'casual sex' service. In addition, it was discovered in 2013 that a flaw in the app made it possible to identify users' geographic location to within approximately 100 feet. Moreover, in July 2014, a former female Tinder executive filed a lawsuit against Defendants, asserting claims of sexual harassment and discrimination. The lawsuit settled shortly thereafter. As a result, Tinder's CEO was demoted and its chief marketing officer resigned."

The confusion is particularly onerous because WildFireWeb has schools as customers, it says.

"In January 2015, an employee of one of plaintiff's longstanding high school district customers saw plaintiff's Tinder mark on his school's website and stated that he did not think his school should be associated with defendants' dating app, as its 'reputation is debatable,'" the complaint states.

WildFireWeb, a Delaware company that operates out of Sonoma County, claims it has been irreparably harmed by defendants' use of Tinder.

It seeks an injunction, damages for trademark infringement and false designation of origin, and wants the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ordered to cancel's one of defendants' trademarks and to deny one that is pending.

WildFireWeb is represented by Peter Shimamoto, with Affeld, Grivakes and Zucker.

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