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Hulu Wants to Stop Dish's 'TV Everywhere' Grab, Too

3/01/2012 5:08 AM

Add Hulu to the list of those objecting to Dish Network’s attempt to trademark “TV Everywhere” for its exclusive use.

Two and half years after Dish first filed for trademark protection on the term — which has been widely used by the pay TV industry to refer to the concept of authenticated online video services — the five biggest U.S. MSOs and Time Warner Inc. filed opposition to the satellite operator’s claim (see Cable Operators, Time Warner Inc. Move To Block Dish’s ‘TV Everywhere’ Claim).

On Wednesday, Hulu officially joined the fray.

Dish’s TV Everywhere site“Third parties have already used the generic or merely descriptive term ‘TV everywhere’ in commerce to refer to an industry-wide initiative whereby subscribers of cable, satellite, and other television services can access and watch video content (including movies and TV shows) on multiple devices, including desktop computers, PC computers, laptops, tablet computers, Internet-connected TVs, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, and mobile telephones and other handheld electronic devices,” Hulu said in its filing with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Hulu pointed out that a Google search of “TV everywhere” returns 20.4 million results. Dish shows up as the No. 2 result, after Wikipedia’s entry on the term — which cites only the June 2009 press conference held by Comcast and Time Warner Inc. (see Comcast, Time Warner Inc. Try To Blend Online TV Models). That was prior to Dish’s September 2009 application to the USPTO.

What to make of Hulu’s opposition? The Internet TV provider, a joint venture of NBCU, Disney and Fox, says it “believes it will be damaged by such registration, and hereby opposes the registration of the Application.”

That’s a pretty clear signal that Hulu wants in on the TV Everywhere action, and is likely looking to ink authentication pacts with pay-TV providers to let subs stream Hulu content to multiple devices.

Note that Fox is already well down this road, imposing an eight-day delay on free episodes on Fox.com. Day-after-air episodes are now available only to customers of TV Everywhere affiliates — which, as it happens, includes Dish (see Fox Does VOD, Authentication Deals With FiOS TV, Mediacom).

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