KinkUniversity, KinkAcademy Sparring Over Their Names

Jun 12, 2017 3:09 PM PST

SAN FRANCISCO — An online BDSM resource website offering sexual education in BDSM, polyamory, swinging and kink may have a valid trademark infringement case against Kink.com.

A federal judge issued an order last week denying Kink.com’s motion for summary judgment in a suit filed by Balance Studio Inc., which has been operating under the name KinkAcademy.com since 2009.

In the suit filed at U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Balance Studio claimed that Kink.com continues to use the “Kink University” trademark with KinkUniversity.com and take advantage of the goodwill earned by Kink Academy’s reputation even after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected its application in 2014.

At the time, the Trademark Office refused to issue Kink.com a trademark after finding a likelihood of confusion between the words and logo marks “Kink Academy” and “Kink University.”

In the order filed last week that advances the suit, U.S. District Judge Donna Ryu wrote that Balance Studio has shown actual use of the “Kink Academy” mark for educational purposes and that the company could prevail with claims.

Ryu, in her order, also tossed Kink.com’s legal attempt in a counterclaim to have the mark “Kink Academy” declared invalid based on its claims that it had senior, exclusive rights because of the word “Kink.”

Balance Studio’s complaint, filed in September 2015, sought an award of Kink.com’s profits from its infringement, as well as treble damages; an injunction against the company enjoining the use of the Kink University word and logo mark; and requiring removal of those words and marks from all media. The suit also seeks attorneys’ fees.

Counsel for both companies did not respond for XBIZ comment by post time.

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