The Great Letter Epidemic: Part III

  • PopPress
  • May 26, 2017
  • StopPress Team
The Great Letter Epidemic: Part III

Earlier in the year, we noted the uncanny similarities between the logos for music streaming service Pandora and a couple of trendy local brands that include Paperboy, Prime and Ponsonby Business Association. Now, it seems Pandora has landed itself in hot water with a completely different brand as Paypal has announced it's taking the big fat 'P' to court. 

The online payment platform has argued that Pandora's logo "dilutes the distinctiveness" of it own branding, leading PayPal to file a trademark infringement lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court.

"Element by element and in overall impression, the similarities between the logos are striking, obvious, and patently unlawful," the lawsuit alleges.

"Pandora's recent adoption of a new 'P' logo, which is unlawfully similar to PayPal's logo, threatens the interests of PayPal's customers and disrupts their user experience. PayPal brings this action to remedy the harm Pandora is causing to the PayPal user experience and the PayPal brand,"

In October last year, Pandora unveiled a new look that swapped out its thin font for chunky blue lettering. Paypal's logo, which consists of two overlapping P's, has been active on the market since 2014.

Pandora's two previous logos

Paypal is suing because it believes consumers have trouble distinguishing the two companies despite operating in completely different industries. Several users have even taken to Twitter to voice their confusion. 



Paypal argues in its lawsuit that: "There is a demonstrable nexus between PayPal's and Pandora's services, starting with the fact that the companies are in direct competition for the precious 'real estate' on the screens of consumers' mobile devices. Consumers also use PayPal to pay for their Pandora subscriptions."

Paypal also alleges that Pandora "latched itself on to the increasingly popular" PayPal look-and-feel in order to aid its performance against "overwhelming competition" from the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, adding that the streaming service "has no obvious path to profitability" due to its mostly ad-supported nature. 

At the time of Pandora's redesign, graphic design expert Armin Vit commented on the new logo by describing it as simple and "easy to embrace," if a bit bland and generic, which most likely attributes to the logo's ubiquitous similarities with other brands.


One of these things is...a lot like the others?

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