Appeals court deals a blow to Canvas.com

Company will need to rebrand quickly.

Screenshot of Canvas.com website

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Canvas’ request to stay an injunction.

It looks like Canvas.com is going to have to change its brand and domain name.

Instructure filed a lawsuit against the company claiming that its Canvas brand infringed on its trademark for Canvas and that it is cybersquatting by using the domain.

U.S. District Court judge Kimball Dale Kimball granted a preliminary junction on January 5 in favor of Instructure (NYSE: INST). He gave Canvas 15 days to cease using the brand, delete all online posts using the Canvas brand, and stop using the canvas.com domain name.

That deadline was January 20, but Canvas continued to use the brand and Canvas.com domain name.

Canvas appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. But today, that court denied (pdf) Canvas’ request to stay the District Court’s injunction.

The District Court judge last week threatened to find Canvas in contempt of court for continuing to use the brand. Kimball gave Canvas until today to explain why it hasn’t ceased using the brand.

With the appeal nixed, Canvas is up against a wall. In theory, Canvas could temporarily rebrand (as the District Judge suggested) and still fight the case. In practice, switching to a temporary brand and then rebranding back to Canvas would be nearly impossible.

The challenge for Canvas is that changing a domain name is hard, especially in short order. Judge Kimball only gave the company 15 days. It’s now been about 30 days, which is still a quick turnaround for a name change. That said, it seems like the best approach might be for Canvas to choose a new brand and try to negotiate with Instructure for a timeline to make the switch.

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