The five biggest U.S. cable operators, along with Time Warner Inc., are trying to prevent Dish Network from securing a trademark on "TV Everywhere."
On Tuesday, Feb. 28, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communications and Cablevision Systems filed an opposition with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
The MSOs said that prior to Dish filing for trademark protection in September 2009, "TV Everywhere" was already being used generically by the industry to refer to authenticated online video services.
"If [Dish] were granted registration of TV Everywhere, [Dish] would obtain certain statutory rights, including prima facie rights, to the exclusive use of TV Everywhere, all to the damage of Opposers," the cable operators said in their complaint.
Time Warner Inc., in its opposition filed Feb. 24 with the USPTO, argued that it coined "TV Everywhere" and that Dish has never made substantially exclusive use of "TV Everywhere."
"The term ‘TV Everywhere' has become so widely recognized as a generic or merely descriptive term that it is incapable of functioning as a trademark for any services because it neither identifies nor distinguishes the source of any services," Time Warner said in its complaint.
Dish declined to comment. The satellite TV operator has until April 8 to file an answer to the cable operators' claims and until April 4 to answer Time Warner Inc.'s complaint.
Dish currently uses the TV Everywhere appellation to promote its DishOnline.com website and Slingbox products, which provide access to live and recorded video programming to multiple devices over the Internet.
The USPTO in July 2010 suspended Dish's TV Everywhere application, citing Time Warner Inc.'s prior application to trademark "On Demand Everywhere" as potentially nullifying Dish's claim.
After a review at Dish's behest, the office on Nov. 1, 2011, published the TV Everywhere claim for opposition.
The USPTO has assigned Dish's trademark application serial number 77828705.