Bumble Files Trademark Opposition Against Stylized Beehive Design, Citing Consumer Confusion

On Friday, opposer Bumble Holding Limited filed a trademark opposition before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against Bithive Limited’s application for the subject design in International Classes 9 and 42. Bumble claimed that it would be harmed by the registration of this application because of the similarities between the marks and the likelihood of consumer confusion.

Applicant Bithive’s logo, as found in the complaint.

Bithive is an online platform where individuals can create virtual communities based on interest. Meanwhile, Bumble, a United Kingdom company, launched in the United States in 2014 and currently has over 100 million users worldwide. According to the opposition it is “an exceedingly popular online and mobile social network platform that facilitates connections for dating, friendship, and professional networking.” Bumble uses a variety of marks that consist of the word Bumble, such as Bumble, Bumble Date, BumbleBFF, and BumbleBizz for its mobile app as well as its goods and services. Moreover, Bumble also uses its logo designs “featuring stacked parallel horizontal lines in which the longest line is in the middle of the stack to signify a stylized beehive design.”

Bumble’s various logos, as found in the complaint.

Bumble claimed that it has spent significant resources to market and promote its products and services “under its BUMBLE-formative marks and horizontal-line designs (collectively, the ‘Bumble Marks’).” Consequently, Bumble asserted that this effort has led to consumer goodwill and the large recognition of the Bumble marks in connection with Bumble and its products and services. Bumble reiterated that its registered trademarks and/or applications predate and have priority over the applicant’s application, which was filed in 2019; Bumble has obtained numerous extensions to oppose.

Bumble averred that the applicant’s design was similar to its designs. In particular, “the beehive design claimed in Applicant’s applications also consists of stacked parallel horizontal lines with curved/rounded ends, in which the longest line is in the middle of the stack, thereby creating the appearance of a stylized beehive or honeycomb.” Bumble pointed to Bithive’s application, which stated, “The mark consists of five horizontal parallel lines with curved ends, forming a stylized beehive or honeycomb hexagonal shape.” Bumble claimed that the applicant “promotes itself using a bee- and beehive-themed motif, which includes the use of the name ‘Bithive,’ hexagonal shapes that convey the appearance of the walls of a beehive, references to online communities as ‘hives,’ and other bee-related imagery.” For example, Bithive’s homepage states “Create a Hive for your community” and its applications are purportedly for stylized beehives. Therefore, Bumble alleged that the applicant’s design is likely to cause consumer confusion with Bumble’s marks. Specifically, Bumble contended that the similarity of the marks, the parties’ similar goods and services, the channels of trade, and Bithive’s use of the stylized beehive design is likely to cause consumer confusion, mistake, or deception or to lead consumers to falsely believe that there is a connection between Bithive’s goods and services or mark and Bumble. Thus, Bumble proffered that it will be harmed by the registration of the applicant’s application.

Bumble has sought for the opposition to be sustained and for the applicant’s requested registration to be refused. Bumble is represented by Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP.