Developing free-to-air terrestrial and online viewing platform YouView, a modified Freeview set top box venture headed by Lord Alan Sugar (The Apprentice), has taken a knock to their chances of success in the competitive TV service market, after losing a battle in court over the rights to the name which is claimed to have already been trademarked.
As a result of the decision by Justice Floyd in the High Court in London (England) last Friday, the service could be forced to give up its name after it was found that YouView is ‘confusingly similar’ to a trademarked slogan ‘Your View’ from Total Ltd. (an English telecommunications company), though the combination service claim they have no intention of giving up their platform’s name, and will continue to appeal until it is impossible to change the decision.
YouView have been operating as a concept (run as a joint venture between companies and broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Arquiva, BT, and TalkTalk) since 2010 (despite only launching their first set-top-box this summer), but it is claimed that Total registered the trademark for ‘YOUR VIEW’ in 2009, and described as interfering with YouView’s pre-launch claims to the Trade Marks Registry that even included ‘lower case’ forms, such as ‘youview’.
While YouView applied the argument that they did not have a similarity with Total’s trademark, Justice Floyd backed the original decision of the Trade Marks Registry, as Paul Gordon of Willans LLP Solicitors (representing Total) said of his side’s current victory: “Our client has done the right thing in defending a brand that is pivotal to their business and is legally theirs. We welcome the judge’s ruling.”
Total Ltd.’s managing director Stuart Baikie summarised of his company’s triumph against much more high-profile opponents: “Our customer base and reputation is built on a winning combination of telecommunications services combined with our unique support systems, of which YourView plays an essential part. YourView enables us to deliver services that are outside the scope of our competitors and we have placed significant resource and investment into integrating all new and existing systems under the global YourView umbrella. It is the root of our service evolution and development roadmap, so therefore critical to our growing business. We welcome the High Court’s judgment.”
Meanwhile, a YouView spokeswoman claimed that the TV service is not going to be changing its identity in the wake of the case, despite fears that they may be forced to make what would be an expensive and potentially company-damaging move, as she summarised: “YouView has no intention of changing its name. This matter is complex and subject to a number of ongoing legal actions and will be settled in the courts.”