PayPal filed suit against Pandora in federal court in the Southern District of New York, alleging that Pandora's logo infringes on the trademarked property of PayPal.
The crux of PayPal's complaint and allegations can be found in the beginning paragraphs of the complaint:
3. The frictionless user experience for PayPal customers starts with PayPal’s famous “P” logo (the “PayPal Logo”). The central features of this iconic logo include capital Ps depicted in a distinctive, block-style sans serif type, with no “counter” or hole in the top part of the P, and the use of PayPal’s familiar deep-blue color range. One critically important function of the PayPal Logo is to stand out on the crowded screens of customers’ smartphones and tablets, where the logo guides customers quickly and surely to the PayPal payments platform. PayPal has invested heavily in the PayPal Logo since its introduction. The PayPal Logo has rapidly achieved significant fame and consumer recognition as a result.
4. Pandora has interfered dramatically with PayPal users’ experience through the adoption of a new logo in October 2016 (the “Pandora Logo”), which not only resembles, but openly mimics the PayPal Logo. Element by element and in overall impression, the similarities between the logos are striking, obvious, and patently unlawful. Just like the PayPal Logo, the Pandora Logo is a capital P in block style, sans serif, with no counter, in the same deep-blue color range. And just like the PayPal Logo, the Pandora Logo plays the critical role of serving as an identifier on customers’ mobile devices, guiding them to the PayPal payments platform.
The primary legal test in any trademark infringement case is whether the alleged infringer's mark is "confusingly similar" to the mark that the Plaintiff has previously registered.
The really interesting thing about the allegations is that PayPal, or PayPal's counsel, went to Twitter to find evidence of customer confusion. Not surprisingly, because people love to tweet/post/comment publicly about every detail of their lives, no matter how minor, there are apparently numerous tweets from third parties commenting on the two logos. Those tweets are reproduced in the complaint and an example is below.
Of course, at this stage, these are merely allegations, and I expect Pandora will demand to know the identity of the Twitter users and obtain statements from those persons or otherwise attempt to limit the use of such statements in the evidentiary record if those people are not available for deposition or interview. This case is going to be very interesting to follow for the business community, the tech community and the creative community charged with creating branding like those logos which form the basis of this dispute. Stay tuned.