Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Venmo or Lenmo? PayPal claims trademark infringement

Many New Jersey consumers and businesses rely on PayPal or Venmo for money transfers or online purchases. A fewer number may have heard of Lenmo, an online startup that focuses on peer-to-peer loans. However, PayPal is suing Lenmo for trademark infringement, claiming that the company is seeking to unlawfully profit from the goodwill and fame of its Venmo brand trademark. Venmo is a PayPal subsidiary brand marketed primarily to younger people. While its lack of fees attracted many to the mobile app, where it is used to transfer money between friends or make online purchases, it is growing more popular overall as a way to pay for music, food and ride share services.

PayPal says that Lenmo is attempting to take advantage of the trust consumers have in the Venmo brand to make a profit, despite the fact that it has no connection to the PayPal-run service. It says that many consumers may be confused about Lenmo given its similarity to the Venmo trademark; they may actually think Lenmo is owned or operated by PayPal and Venmo. In addition, Lenmo is in direct competition with the larger company. While many people associate PayPal primarily with money transfers or online shopping, the company offers a credit service as well as direct loans.

PayPal has made massive investments in marketing. In the second quarter of 2019, the company spent $356 million on marketing costs, almost 10% of its total revenues for the period. It argues that Lenmo is essentially using its extensive marketing efforts to profit on its own and is claiming damages from the loan company as well as requesting an injunction against the brand.

For companies in creative and technical spheres, intellectual property can be some of their most important assets. A business law attorney can help innovators to register their trademarks and protect them from infringement.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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