LinkedIn's Classmates Tempts Trademark Battle

Mountain View-based business networking service LinkedIn appears to be tempting some trademark confusion--and maybe, a lawsuit-- with the launch Wednesday of a new service it bills Classmates, to help its users connect with former classmates via the service. The name of the firm's new feature goes head to head with a trove of trademarks owned by Classmates Online, the subsidiary of Woodland Hills-based United Online. LinkedIn's new service helps connect its users with fellow college alumni. The firm described classmates in its announcement as "a tool for insights and networking for alumni of colleges and universities around the world." A cursory search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark database shows a number of registered trademarks of Classmates Online for the use of "Classmates" for a variety of online services around connecting college, school, and other alumni. United Online is no stranger to trademark battles -- it is the target itself a trademark lawsuit, for using Memory Lane as the name of an additional service tied to Classmates Online.