Company alleges competitor is infringing its trademarks by using vowel-less version of its own name.
One of strangest ways companies have tried to cope with the lack of cheap available domain names in the past decade is to drop vowels. A prime example was Flickr.com, which dropped the ‘e’ to save a bit of money (though it later acquired Flicker.com).
If you take all of the vowels out of a word, does the word remain the same?
It’s an interesting question, and one that may have to be decided in a trademark lawsuit filed by Private Business Jets, LLC against PRVT, Inc.
The plaintiff operates the website FlyPrivate.com and the defendant uses FlyPrvt.com. The plaintiff alleges the defendant is engaging in trademark infringement and cyber-piracy.
In one sense “private” is descriptive of the services. It’s not just a branded word missing the vowels. Is replacing “private” with “prvt” a new brand or term?
You can read the allegations here (pdf).