Barclays PLC has taken Plaid Inc to Court over alleged trademark infringement and false designation of origin and unfair competition under New York law.
The complaint was filed by Barclays on November 22, 2021, in the New York Southern District Court. The document, seen by FX News Group, makes it clear that the case is about Barclays’ Rise trademarks. These trademarks are used in connection with Barclays’ fintech incubator-related services. Plaid allegedly adopted and has used the nearly identical trademark FinRise for its own competing fintech incubator-related services.
Expanding on its RISE identity, Barclays launched its RISE financial technology (“fintech”) incubators in 2014. Presently located in New York, London and India (and formerly located in Tel Aviv), Barclays’ RISE incubators provide marketing, mentoring, networking, business development and financing opportunities and advice, educational programs, co-working environments and event, office, research and development spaces for fintech companies. Over 70 fintech companies call RISE home and over 7,500 members belong to the RISE virtual community.
Barclays owns the domain name rise.barclays, which resolves to Barclays’ website promoting and offering Barclays’ Incubator Services in connection with Barclays’ RISE Marks.
Barclays alleges that, in or about January 2021, long after Barclays established rights in its RISE Marks, Plaid adopted and began using the mark “FinRise” in connection with the provision of its own incubator-related services, including marketing, mentoring, networking, business development and financing opportunities and advice and educational programs.
Barclays claims that, prior to adopting Defendant’s FinRise Mark, Plaid had sought to do business with Barclays and Barclays’ Incubator Services under Barclays’ RISE Marks, and Defendant therefore was well aware of Barclays’ RISE Marks.
The plaintiff notes that Defendant’s FinRise Mark incorporates Barclays’ RISE Mark in full and merely adds the descriptive term “fin,” short for “financial,” a term that describes Barclays and its services, including Barclays’ Incubator Services. Also, Defendant’s Incubator Services are identical or closely related to Barclays’ Incubator Services.
Barclays and Plaid both target the same consumers and at least one member of Defendant’s initial FinRise cohort also applied to or inquired about Barclays’ RISE incubator.
According to Barclays, Plaid’s actions are likely to cause consumer confusion as to the source and origin of its Incubator Services and to cause mistake, or to deceive the public by misleading consumers into believing that Defendant’s Incubator Services emanate from, are approved, authorized, endorsed or sponsored by, or are in some way associated or connected with Barclays, Barclays’ RISE Marks and/or Barclays’ Incubator Services.
Barclays says it specifically has objected to Defendant’s actions, both orally and in writing. Despite multiple requests by Barclays, Defendant has refused to cease and desist from its use of Defendant’s FinRise Mark.
Barclays argues that, as a result of Defendant’s unlawful actions, Barclays has been or will be damaged and has suffered, and will continue to suffer, immediate and irreparable injury.