Many people in Colorado use online payment systems like PayPal and Venmo to transfer money or make purchases. Now PayPal is accusing a loan company of infringing its trademarks with its brand, Lenmo. Lenmo, described as a peer-to-peer lending startup, is far less well-known than PayPal or its Venmo brand. PayPal says that Lenmo obviously intended to benefit from the popularity and fame of Venmo without any connection to the company. In addition, it argues that consumers may even believe that Lenmo is a part of Venmo or PayPal due to the similarities in their names.
While money transfers and easy online purchases are perhaps the best-known parts of PayPal services, the company also offers credit and even loans to its customers, putting it in direct competition with Lenmo. PayPal spends a lot to publicize its own brand name and that of Venmo. In the second quarter of 2019 alone, the company spent $356 million on marketing, an increase of nearly $50 million over the year before. PayPal’s trademark infringement lawsuit says that Lenmo wants to profit from PayPal’s work and expenses, and it is requesting an injunction against use of the name as well as monetary damages.
These types of trademark disputes may be particularly important for online companies. In general, trademark holders have to aggressively protect their intellectual property or risk losing it. While PayPal’s main brand may be its best-known service, Venmo is rapidly growing in popularity, especially among young people. Venmo is a favorite for people transferring money to one another, especially due to its minimal fees.
Intellectual property can comprise a company’s most valuable assets, especially in the online space. An IP lawyer can help businesses ensure that their trademarks and copyrights are appropriately protected and take action against infringers.
Source: Market Realist, “PayPal Accuses Lenmo of Trademark Infringement,” Neha Gupta, July 30, 2019