Zip Zapp Zoom: Zapier Sues Zoom For Trademark Infringement

On Monday in the Northern District of California, plaintiff Zapier, Inc. filed a complaint against Zoom Video Communications, Inc. for trademark infringement and unfair competition, alleging that Zoom is using the name “Zapp” for its third-party app integration within Zoom, infringing Zapier’s “Zap” third-party app integration business, which Zoom has previously partnered with to use within Zoom.

According to the complaint, Zapier “is an internationally-prominent technology company specializing in online automation tools that connect and integrate third party internet applications (‘apps’) and application services.” In particular, Zapier stated that it accomplishes this through the workflow on its software, which can be used “in order to connect or trigger certain actions among different third-party apps that are integrated through Zapier.” Zapier noted that its workflows are referred to as “Zap” or “Zaps.” Zapier claimed that “[a]s long ago as 2015, Zoom partnered with Zapier so that Zapier would provide Zaps that allowed Zoom’s and Zapier’s users to integrate the Zoom app with other third-party apps.” Zapier proffered that Zoom users utilize Zapier to integrate Zoom with other apps. Zapier asserted that “Zoom is completely aware of Zapier’s use of ‘Zap’ and ‘Zaps’ and the overlap with ‘Zapp.’” Furthermore, the plaintiff claimed that Zoom’s website “currently contains instructions on how to create a Zap and integrate third party apps with Zoom through Zaps.” According to Zapier, “to justify the current stock price,” Zoom needs to introduce new products, one of which is “Apps in Zoom,” which are apps that can be used within Zoom. Zapier claims that “[s]uch connections and integrations between thirds party apps…are Zapier’s core value and business – and have long been referred to….as ‘Zaps.’” Zapier averred that Zoom announced that it would be calling the “Apps in Zoom” integration business “Zapps,” which the plaintiff found to be problematic.

Specifically, Zapier noted that “[t]hese so-called ‘Zapps’ are third party apps Zoom is integrating – including more than half that are already integrated with Zoom via Zaps by Zapier,” but instead of going with a different name, such as “Apps in Zoom” or “Zoom App Marketplace,” the plaintiff alleged that “Zoom is blatantly ripping off the decade of goodwill and premier reputation built by Zapier for its Zaps by using the phonetically identical and alternately spelled term ‘Zapps.’” Consequently, Zapier asserted that this is likely to be associated with Zapier’s Zaps, which it claimed that third parties will occasionally misspell as Zapps. Zapier claimed that as a result of using the term “Zapp,” Zoom stole Zapier’s trademark name in a purported “attempt to expropriate Zapier’s goodwill, reputation, and industry leading position in the app integration business.” As a result, Zapier contended that this will likely cause consumer confusion and pointed out tweets that noted this confusion or asked if Zoom acquired Zapier. Zapier also argued that Zoom has misappropriated Zapier’s trademarks and is unfairly competing with Zapier and its marks by “naming its new business the aurally identical ‘Zapp.’” Furthermore, the plaintiff claimed that Zoom is also harming its goodwill, reputation, and diluting its trademark, particularly because of the similar nature of what the marks and names are covering, namely, app integration.

The claims for relief for the aforementioned allegations include federal unfair competition and dilution, common law trademark infringement, and unfair business practices.

Zapier has sought a temporary restraining order and an order to preliminarily and permanently enjoin Zoom from further infringement; an award for damages; restitution; an award for costs and fees; and other relief.

Zapier is represented the Kaufhold Gaskin Gallagher LLP.