VibePay and Klarna go head to head over trademark dispute

By Aisling Finn on Thursday 7 October 2021

Digital Banking

A real David and Goliath story of the fintech world.

VibePay and Klarna go head to head over trademark dispute
Image source: Luke Massie/VibePay

It’s not often we see fintechs go up against each other so directly and Klarna vs VibePay really is a David and Goliathesque tale.

Klarna has filed to trademark the word ‘vibe’ with the Intellectual Property Office, despite VibePay already owning the trademark, according to The Telegraph.

The buy now, pay later giant has moved to trademark the word because it is gearing up to launch its rewards programme of the same name here in the UK.

As it stands, Klarna’s US customers can earn points for every $1 they spend, which can then be cashed in to pay for Starbucks drinks or Ubers.

Klarna first launched Vibe, which now counts 1.8 million customers, in June 2020 and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski promised that his fintech would launch Vibe in Europe later in the summer—a plan that has been derailed by VibePay.

According to The Telegraph, one potential outcome of the dispute is the $45bn buy now, pay later giant acquiring UK-based VibePay.

Speaking at the AltFi Open Banking Forum yesterday, CEO and founder of VibePay Luke Massie confirmed The Telegraph's reporting of the story.

Massie also confirmed that VibePay is working with a legal team to help settle the dispute with Klarna.

At the time of Klarna’s launch, Massie tweeted that “25 members of Klarna’s senior team” had viewed his LinkedIn profile and that the BNPL fintech pinching VibePay’s wasn’t a vibe.

The speculation surrounding the trademark dispute could also see other BNPL players approach VibePay to prevent Klarna from owning the trademark.

AltFi approached Klarna for comment but it declined to provide one.

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