NEW YORK, New York., April 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/
In what has been described as a hard-fought legal battle the 13th District Court of New York issued a clear victory for the group known as the Fintech Mafia today over a multi-year legal dispute with the US Patents and Trademark Office in Washington.
It had been argued by the USPTO that the term Fintech was widely in use as a general term, but in his concluding statement to the court, Judge Clarence Jackson noted that the collective group known as the Fintech Mafia had passed the burden of proof to establish both first use and early commercial adoption, stating that
“The plaintiff successfully established and demonstrated the right of first use as early as 2008. The court could find no credible use of the term before this group popularized it, despite the best efforts of the government to establish that the term had become common in use since establishment, the so-called Fintech Mafia clearly had a commercial and published origin that made such popularizing possible.”
Jackson went on to point out that other common use terms like “googling”, “kodak” moment, or more recent terms like “Facetime” me were all in common use after establishment, but this didn’t mean that the commercial claim to the registered mark was diluted.
Three founding members of the Fintech Mafia were at the court to hear the good news.
Jim Marous, a leading publisher of the Digital Banking Report, said of Judge Jackson’s decision;
“As a group we’ve fought hard for this win. I’m delighted that we’re finally recognized as the rightful owners and the source of this widely used industry term”
Brett King, the so-called Godfather of the Fintech Mafia, has been the most vocal participant in the legal battle thus far, appeared delighted by the result;
“We were there at the start, long before others were talking about Fintech or had started organizing around the terminology. The common use of Fintech by the sector broadly, only serves to emphasize how successful we’ve been in establishing strong recognition of our mark. In those early days, nobody even knew what we were talking about!”
Chris Skinner, the founder of the Financial Services Club and the sole representative of the UK and EU contingents at the final hearing, was resolute in his reflection on the verdict.
“I’m sorry, but when you work so hard to establish a brand as a trailblazer and in the space, it’s only fair that you receive the appropriate recognition. It’s not that we want to stop people from using the term Fintech, we just want people to respect its origin and what it means for the world at large”
The Fintech Mafia Corporation LLC announced, following the listing of the registered mark on the USPTO website, that they would be issuing notices of compliances to businesses that used Fintech in their business name initially, but they didn’t rule out action against Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram users of the hashtag #Fintech sometime in the future.
“We’ll leave Fintech associations alone”, said King, “but if you’re branding yourself as a Fintech Influencer or Insider, you’ll have to negotiate a deal with our team”
When asked for comment on the court’s ruling, the US Patents and Trademark office noted that they had not yet ruled out an appeal on the matter. Marous noted that fees levied on those in breach of the trademark rules, would have to settle those claims as of April 1st, 2019.