Spotify v Potify

The music streaming service Spotify won a trademark dispute in the USA over the app name POTIFY – an app for medical Marijuana. Spotify successfully claimed that its own brand SPOTIFY was diluted by the app name POTIFY – which was allegedly inspired by Shopify and ”pot”.

This was no problem at all for SPOTIFY in the case ‘Spotify AB versus U.S. Software Inc.’ before the TTAB (Opposition Nos. 91243297 and 91248487), in which the Swedes took action against the app name POTIFY, which had been applied for as a trademark for a cannabis app. The globally successful music streaming service from Sweden has been offering its services in the USA since 2011. Spotify proved before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) that it has 23.3 million likes on Facebook, 5.3 million followers on Instagram and 1 million subscribers on YouTube.

The absolute peak of demonstrable notoriety and fame came in 2017: after President Obama said he wanted to work at Spotify after leaving office, the music streaming service advertised a job as “President of Playlists” in January 2017, for which only he would have been qualified. This marketing and promotional coup was a hit on social media; on Twitter it was the number one of so-called “trending moment”.

The applicant for the POTIFY mark argued that the trademark term POTIFY comes from ‘pot’, a common pseudonym for marijuana, and that the suffix ‘-IFY,’ means that marijuana / pot can be found.

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