Crowns and Coins for QuizUp

by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

New stuff that spreads really fast never ceases to amaze me. Remember the viral music video from Norway earlier this year? The What Does the Fox Say video amassed another 200 million views since my post from six weeks ago!

Over the holidays my kids introduced me to QuizUp, the latest viral sensation offered by a mobile game startup from Iceland called Plain Vanilla:

“Challenge your friends and connect with others around the globe in the largest real-time trivia game ever. Go head to head in over 150,000 questions and 280 topics ranging from your favorite TV shows and books to sports and music.”

Unlike some of my fellow DuetsBlog authors, I’m not a gamer by any stretch, but the QuizUp Logos game is quite addictive, given my love for trademarks, branding and visual identity.

What surprised me is how I confused the Hallmark crown logo with the Rolex crown logo more than a few times — so, here are a few crowns for you to consider:


Goodlogo!com reveals quite a few well-known logos with crown features, leaving me wondering what a reasonable scope of rights might be in each crown standing alone. Each crown is distinguishable when compared side by side, but that isn’t how trademark likelihood of confusion is tested, unless of course the products appear side by side in commerce.

One of the above four crown logos probably appears side by side with the crown logo below and to the right, do you know which one? You’ll need to click on the truncated image of the crown to see it in all its glory.

Hint: Both identify a beer brand, the one above associates itself with beaches and the one on the right with buds.

Back to QuizUp, there appears to be more than just crowns ahead for QuizUp, but lots of coin too. The company just raised another $22 million, based on its rapid success in attracting more than 5 million users since the launch in November. It will be interesting to see how the company monetizes the presently free downloads and online entertainment.

I’m hoping that the company doesn’t spend all $22 million in one place by developing the needed Android version of QuizUp, and that it devotes something toward hiring some crowned trademark counsel too.

The only U.S. trademark filing I could find for Plain Vanilla is a pending application for QuizUp, filed by the company’s CEO Thor Fridriksson, and it appears to have at least one red flag.

The use-based application covers “production of video and computer game software” as a service in Int’l Class 41, so I’m left wondering does the company really provide these production services for others under the QuizUp brand? To the extent software is being produced for others, isn’t that more likely done under the Plain Vanilla house brand and not the QuizUp product brand?

As Section 1402.11(a) of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP) instructs:

“It is important to remember that these services must be performed for the benefit of others.  If an applicant is developing its own software, it is not engaging in a recognized service.”

Seems like these descriptions would be more appropriate for Int’l Class 41 coverage in connection with the wildly popular QuizUp brand “online game:”

  • “Entertainment services, namely, providing a multiple-user online computer game, in Class 41.”
  • “Providing a computer game that may be accessed network-wide by network users, in Class 41.”

Just my two cents. Have you tried QuizUp yet? How would you spend $22 million?

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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