Trademark Has Come To This: Tinder Opposes Dating App With Only One Lonely Dude On Its Dating Roster

from the a-real-threat dept

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?

Filed Under: dating apps, shed simove, trademark
Companies: shinder, tinder


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2017 @ 6:51pm

    Or he might implement an Angie's List clone and call it Schindler's List.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    William Braunfeld (profile), 23 May 2017 @ 7:22pm

    I guess I'm confused why he would even try to trademark an obvious parody name.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 May 2017 @ 3:18am

      Re:

      To generate a headline. Tinder did exactly what it is supposed to do as a trademark holder, going no more litigious as to be considered a troll, no less to risk losing it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 May 2017 @ 9:52am

      Re:

      I guess I'm confused why he would even try to trademark an obvious parody name.

      Publicity. It worked.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2017 @ 8:53pm

    Just because the guy isn't a huge company doesn't mean his claim should get any special standing. If Google tried to release an app called Ginder there would be a rightful trademark problem. TD has so many good stories about trademark misuse, you'd think their writers would actually know when to point out when it's being used properly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TripMN, 23 May 2017 @ 9:07pm

      Re:

      But this isn't a good use of Trademark. Where is the potential confusion? Where is the protection of the masses from using Tinder's good name with a knock-off product? It is cases like this that lead to Trademark overreach and over lawyering when people are purposefully using parody and should be fully protected.

      Personal anecdote time. A relative of mine opened up a coffee shop in a small town where a Dunkin Donuts used to rent. The Dunks moved down the street to a new place so he opened up his own little mom & pop operation. He doesn't have much signage (Dunk's took anything that wasn't nailed down), but he does have big glass windows, so he was writing messages on the windows, like "Opening Soon" and "Now Open". After a few days of being opened, he writes on the windows "<Town A> Now Runs on <Business Name>", making fun of Dunkin's trademarked slogan "America Runs On Dunkin". It wasn't up for too many days before he got a Cease and Desist letter saying that DD would file suit for Trademark infringement, even though the only two words that match their trademark are "runs on". It's stupidity like that which seems to keep the lawyers getting paid, but it means that every person who doesn't have an army of lawyers at their disposal has to watch every thing they say and do/write/display or get sued into the ground by someone who does.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2017 @ 9:53pm

      Re:

      You'd have a point if there were no differences between a competing dating app created by a competing corporation and a silly parody app created by some dude.

      But there are, and you don't.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 May 2017 @ 11:36pm

    Silly?

    > To be clear, the attempt to trademark "Shinder" itself is silly.

    Silly? Not at all. The reason was probably to generate publicity in the press by getting Tinder to oppose it. And it worked brilliantly!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 24 May 2017 @ 12:17am

    "Jane could have Jinder, and so on."

    ...and what would Tina call her version? I think I might have found the problem.

    The whole thing's silly, but even under his own explanation he's doomed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 May 2017 @ 4:39am

    _"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."_
    Yay, one of my pet peeves: Gender double standard!

    Had the creator been a lady (_"Jane could have Jinder, and so on."_) it would have been praised as innovative and endearing. But since it's a dude it's automatically creepy.

    The only way for a guy to not be creepy, it seems, is either being a "bad boy" or going for the long game, "traditional" style, of being "hooked up" by someone else.

    Also, legally, there's enough overlap that Tinder very likely has a case. Not much of a story.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 24 May 2017 @ 4:54am

      Re:

      Step one - create hypothetical situation where a specific reaction is received to a fictional scenario.

      Step two - whine about hypocrisy because the reaction to the situation that's actually happened doesn't match the situation you invented.

      Step three - successfully be a victim, thus freeing yourself from responsibility for your own actions.

      Struggling to get dates, are we?

      "The only way for a guy to not be creepy"

      ...is to not do creepy things.

      "being "hooked up" by someone else"

      Cheating on an existing partner counts as creepy too, especially if you're only with that partner to try and get dates with other women (as you seem to be suggesting).

      "Not much of a story"

      Yet, here you are whining about part of the case that's even less of a story than the legal issue being discussed here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 24 May 2017 @ 6:56am

      Re:

      "Had the creator been a lady (_"Jane could have Jinder, and so on."_) it would have been praised as innovative and endearing. But since it's a dude it's automatically creepy."

      Uh, no, not at all. The creepy aspect of this app is that one person went through all the trouble of developing it to get that one person a date, then pimped it to the wider internet and social media. I don't give a hot shit whether that one person is male or female, that shit is creepy.

      That said, I apologize for having triggered you so completely. I suppose I should have spent a paragraph explaining that this wasn't a gender judgement in anticipation of your inference-based offense. You see, it's just so hard trying to anticipate ALL of the potential inferences out there, which is why I missed this one.

      You have my deepest, sincerest, in no ways sarcastic or petulant apology.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Phalen, 24 May 2017 @ 11:59am

      Re:

      Had the creator been a lady ("Jane could have Jinder, and so on.") it would have been praised as innovative and endearing. But since it's a dude it's automatically creepy.

      Had the creator been a lady, we would have found out really quickly just how creepy dudes on the internet can be. Women who use the big sites like OKCupid and Tinder are already inundated with an endless stream of creeps and perverts; I can only imagine how awful it would be if there was only one target for the guys to aim at.

      And even dismissing that scenario, women are already subject to gender-based double standards. If a woman made the same app for the same purpose, she would be called "desperate," "thirsty," "slutty," "fat," "gold digger," etc. etc. etc. et al.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 24 May 2017 @ 4:17pm

      Re:

      So you say.

      But you may be right, and only guys are ever creepy. Women can only be bitches, whores, sluts... So unfair. Our culture is so very biased against doods.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 May 2017 @ 11:09am

    Conspiracy theory is that he didn't want to trademark he wanted attention via lawsuit to get women to use his app to get him a date

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 29 May 2017 @ 11:59am

    How to get free publicity

    This seems like a textbook case on how to get free publicity.

    Step 1: Create an app that only you will use and give it a parody name.

    Step 2: A larger company files an opposition.

    Step 3: Complain in the media about how the large company is overstepping and trying to put the small business-owner down.

    Step 4: "Give in" to the larger company and stop work on the app that wasn't going anywhere anyway.

    Step 5: Profit by giving speeches about trademark and copyrights.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.