Kochava and LiveRamp Locked in Legal Dispute Over IdentityLink

The latest twist in the ongoing trademark dispute between ad tech rivals

Kochava, LiveRamp
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Kochava, the Idaho-based mobile attribution company, filed legal documents Friday as part of a long-running dispute with San Francisco-based ad-tech giant LiveRamp. The companies are vying for the exclusive right to use the IdentityLink trademark.

In a Northern District of California court late Friday, Kochava filed a counterclaim to an earlier filing from LiveRamp, marking the latest round in an ongoing legal wrangle that dates back to 2016.

Kochava asserts that it began using the IdentityLink trademark in 2011, five years prior to LiveRamp introducing a product to market with the same name. Kochava claims this was a rebrand of LiveRamp’s earlier Customer Link offering.

“You can imagine our surprise when we learned that another company was using our mark,” Kochava said in a statement. “Maybe LiveRamp with a market cap of $3 billion and an industry behemoth and a publicly-traded company didn’t care that a privately held startup had been using IdentityLink for over four years?”

LiveRamp had attempted to register “IdentityLink” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2016, but Kochava opposed the motion and issued a cease-and-desist order in January 2018.

The dispute took an additional turn in April 2019 when LiveRamp filed suit against Kochava, citing “Kochava’s recent bad faith use of the IdentityLink brand,” according to papers filed in the Northern District of California.

Subsequent filings indicate the quarrel was not resolved through mediation.

“We have now spent the past year and a half in a legal battle providing discovery of Kochava’s first market roots and the IdentityLink mark,” Kochava said in a statement. “All of their efforts until now appear to be a focus on attrition warfare, a tired tactic of big guys trying to wear down the little guys in court.”

In a statement, LiveRamp said Kochava’s counterclaim was meritless.

“LiveRamp proactively initiated this litigation against Kochava over half a year ago and stands behind the allegations contained in its Complaint,” a statement from the company reads. “We believe this counterclaim has no merit, and we intend to defend vigorously.”

@ronan_shields ronan.shields@adweek.com Ronan Shields is a programmatic reporter at Adweek, focusing on ad-tech.