Hulu Withdraws Opposition To Dish 'TV Everywhere' Claim

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Hulu has withdrawn its opposition to Dish Network's "TV Everywhere" trademark application after the companies "settled their dispute" over the term, according to a joint filing Wednesday with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Dish's claim on "TV Everywhere," first submitted to the USPTO in September 2009, is still formally being challenged by the five largest U.S. cable operators -- Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communications and Cablevision Systems -- as well as DirecTV and Time Warner Inc.

Hulu and Dish declined to comment on the terms of the settlement.

Dish's TV Everywhere page

Notwithstanding the settlement, Hulu "reserves all of its rights, claims, remedies, and defenses with respect to anyone's ability to use and/or register the term 'TV Everywhere,'" the companies said in the filing with the USPTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Previously, Hulu had objected that Dish shouldn't be granted a trademark on the term -- which has been widely used in the pay-TV industry to refer to the concept of authenticated online video services -- because it has been used generically.

"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 Feb. 29 filing with the USPTO.

Hulu, formed in March 2007, is owned by Comcast's NBCUniversal, News Corp., The Walt Disney Co. and Providence Equity Partners. Hulu has a limited "TV Everywhere" strategy today, offering subscribers of Dish and Verizon FiOS access to new episodes of Fox shows the day after they air; other users must wait eight days.

In May, Dish argued that the term is neither generic nor merely descriptive and claimed its use of "TV Everywhere" has been successful "in creating a commercial impression for the mark through its advertising, and the consuming public recognizes the mark 'TV Everywhere' as a source indicator for Applicant's services."

Dish currently uses "TV Everywhere" to promote its Slingbox products, which provide access to live and recorded video programming to multiple devices over the Internet, plus the DishOnline.com website and Blockbuster @Home hybrid service that offers DVDs-by-mail and video streaming.

A Google search of "TV everywhere" currently returns 20.7 million results. Dish shows up as the No. 2 result, after Wikipedia's entry on the term, which doesn't mention Dish but cites the June 2009 press conference held by Comcast and Time Warner Inc. outlining their initial authentication agreement.

Dish's trademark application has serial number 77/828,705.

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