Canvas asks court to stay injunction that would force it to change domains

Diversity recruiting site challenges injunction that would devastate its business.

Job recruiting platform Canvas has asked a judge to stay an injunction (pdf) that would force it to rebrand its entire company within 15 days.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball granted a preliminary injunction in favor of Instructure that would force Canvas to change its entire brand and domain name within 15 days. Canvas rebranded from Jumpstart to Canvas (and the Canvas.com) domain name earlier this year, but Instructure says this brand infringes on its trademark for Canvas.

Canvas co-founder Adam Gefkovicz told the court (pdf) such a rebrand would devastate the business:

The Court’s preliminary injunction requires us to disable our website at www.canvas.com and remove the use of “CANVAS” from the internet within fifteen days of the Court’s order, a period so short that it would subject Canvas to extreme and serious irreparable harm. Hypothetically speaking, if we had a storefront and we were ordered to change our branding within a 15-day time period, that might still be extremely challenging and burdensome, but if that was the case, at least our customers could find us because we would remain in the same physical location. However, because of the online nature of our business, if the Court’s preliminary injunction is not stayed, our customers will immediately lose the ability to access our services. Thus, companies who are looking to hire diverse employees and job candidates seeking employment may not be able to access our services.

The company argues that, if it is forced to rebrand from Canvas, then its appeal is moot because it won’t really be able to rebrand back to Canvas if it wins.

It certainly seems likely that the rebrand would cause significant harm beyond just losing a great brand. Changing an entire company’s platform to work with a new domain name within 15 days would be extremely difficult, not to mention the significant SEO harm this could cause. It could effectively sever all email communication, too.

Canvas has appealed the decision to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals but is asking the District Court to stay the injunction in the meantime.

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