Dish Network Calls Dibs on 'TV Everywhere'

11/14/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

Charlie Ergen is hoping to beat cable foes to the punch by trying to trademark the “TV Everywhere” buzzword.

Dish Network, of which Ergen is chairman and CEO, has filed for trademark protection on “TV Everywhere.” The satellite operator is apparently seeking to use the term in marketing its forthcoming Slingbox-enabled set-top box.

Dish has established a “TV Everywhere” section of its Web site at that references its remote digital video recorder programming features and includes a link to Sling Media, the maker of the place-shifting Slingbox devices that Ergen-controlled EchoStar bought for $380 million. The satellite company originally expected to offer the “SlingLoaded” ViP 922 receiver this spring, but now plans to debut it before the end of the year.

A Slingbox-based service, however, cuts out content owners by letting a subscriber rebroadcast live TV or DVR content over the Internet to a PC or mobile device. By contrast, the broader industry has used the TV Everywhere term to describe services offered via distributors in partnership with programmers to potentially increase advertising revenue.

As outlined by Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes, for example, “TV Everywhere” encompasses Web-based video services available only to pay TV subscribers provided through cable, satellite or telco TV operators in cooperation with programmers. Dish representatives would not say whether the company is developing a service along those lines.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon Communications and DirecTV each have TV Everywhere-style services in various stages of development with programming partners, and Canadian cable operator Rogers Communications plans to launch one later this month.

EchoStar, meanwhile, has been pitching cable companies on a Slingbox-based set-top box to offer “TV Everywhere” services to customers in the way the industry leases DVRs. Dish Network and EchoStar, which sells hardware and satellite services, became separate entities in January 2008, but the DBS operator remains EchoStar's single biggest customer.

Dish filed the “TV Everywhere” trademark application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on Sept. 17. Among other things, the filing covers “television transmission services” as well as “providing access to electronic sites for remote access, recording and viewing of television programming via personal computers, mobile phones, personal digital assistants and laptop computers.”

The satellite operator's trademark application also refers to “peer-to-peer network computer services, namely, electronic transmission of audio, video and other data and documents among computers” and “rental of set-top boxes and digital video recorders for use with televisions.”

According to the Patent Office's trademark-search database, as of last Friday, Dish's application had not yet been assigned to an examining attorney.

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