Diversity recruitment site Canvas.com took a hit this week when a federal judge ordered it to stop using the canvas.com brand and domain name due to a conflict with another company.

The ruling came down this week in a trademark-infringement suit brought by learning-management platform Instructure, which claims the Canvas.com domain name and logo conflict with a product of Instructure’s that’s also called Canvas.

On January 5, a U.S. district court judge granted a preliminary injunction that requires Canvas to stop using the Canvas name within 15 days.

“Defendant shall remove or destroy all signs, posters, pictures, billboards, advertisements, or other printed matter that displays the Canvas Mark in any manner,” the ruling states. Further, “Defendant shall remove all internet posts, pictures, or other material (including but not limited to on Defendant’s websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social media pages) that display the Canvas Mark in any manner.”

Though a final ruling in  the case is still pending, the injunction is a major setback for Canvas and its investors. The San Francisco-based startup, which helps employers boost levels of underrepresented groups in their hiring, has raised $82.7 million to date. That includes a $20 million round last spring and a $50 million series C round in September.

No one disputes that Instructure has a longer history with the Canvas name. Instructure introduced its Canvas product, a learning-management system marketed to colleges and universities, in 2010, and it received a U.S. patent on it in 2017, according to court judgement.

Part of Instructure’s claim against Canvas rests on an electronic-portfolio service that it offers to students through its learning platform. As e-portfolios are used in recruitment, confusion arises over the different Canvas brands, Instructure argues.

Canvas, on the other hand, argues that two other recruitment companies, including the ATS vendor Jobvite, have Canvas-branded services and that Instructure had never taken meaningful action to stop either one. Canvas also argues that Instructure’s claims on the domain name are tenuous because it had several years to secure the domain name but never did. 

Domain Name Wire reports that Canvas is appealing the injunction.

Related Articles