Diversity Job Marketplace Canvas.com which rebranded itself last year from Jumpstart, was recently ordered to stop using the Canvas.com domain by a judge. Canvas is currently leasing the domain.
This is according to a story by BleepingComputer. In the article, “Learning management platform Instructure claims the domain name Canvas.com and its logo contain elements that conflict with Instructure’s Canvas product and line of business.“
Canvas says they are appealing the ruling. Instructure has an online learning management system (LMS) that also goes by the name Canvas. Hence the dispute.
The court was quoted as saying;
In this case, Instructure has marketed and sold its services under the canvas mark for over a decade – investing tens of millions of dollars in promoting its products under its mark during this time. To allow Canvas Tech to trade off of the goodwill and reputation that Instructure built would be a significant harm to Instructure. Further, Instructure is not requesting that Canvas Tech no longer promote and sell its services. Instructure is only requesting that Canvas Tech stop using the canvas mark – a mark by which Canvas Tech has been branded for just a few months. While it is true that granting a preliminary injunction against Canvas Tech would force Canvas Tech to rebrand, at least temporarily, the court finds that this harm is minimal in comparison to Instructure’s. Thus, the balance of hardships here favors Instructure.
Ironically I spoke with Canvas CEO (at the time) Ben Herman, and I brought up that their have been other HR tech products that used the Canvas names. He dismissed the idea of any trademark dispute during that interview. (video below)
A word of warning to potential HR tech startups, do your due diligence before you name your company. If Canvas ends up losing this dispute its going to cause havoc for their brand and irritate their investors.