YouView may have to face a rebrand after it lost a High Court battle against Total Ltd, which is a small Gloucestershire based company, who claimed that the YouView internet television service infringed on its trademark for an online billing system called “Yourview”.
Total Ltd won this argument, after which it said that it would be applying for an injunction to stop further infringement by YouView, where it also said it will be seeking to recover any costs of the battle.
After the case, Lorrin White, Total’s managing director said the following:
“Whilst Total may not compare to YouView in terms of size, we both operate in the same industry space.”
“We protect our rights to brand ownership and wholeheartedly defend those rights – as any business should – otherwise we would never have registered our marks in the first place. Our integrated YourView products are core to the long term strategy of Total.”
“We are a business that respects our partners, competitors and the wider industry, but YouView have persisted in their infringement of our registered mark, leaving us no option but to take action through the courts.”
To which, Total’s lawyer, Paul Gordon added the following:
“YouView were made well aware of Total’s rights before they launched the service under the infringing name yet they chose to launch it under that name regardless.”
This case has dated back to 2010, which is when YouView first applied for its own trademark, at which point Total challenged the company’s application on the basis of their awarded trademark YourView, which they were awarded month earlier. This argument was in fact won in an Intellectual Property Office in 2012, but despite this YouView continued to use the name.
Shortly after which Total then decided to take YouView to court over the immediate cancellation of the YouView name, which they of course won earlier today.
Shortly after the decision, YouView’s spokesman said that they “plan to appeal against the court’s decision, as we maintain there is no confusion between our consumer-facing TV service, YouView, and the business-to-business billing platform, YourView, provided by Total Ltd.”
This is despite the final decision being made by the courts judge, Mr Justice Sales who said that there was “a strong likelihood of confusion on the part of the public”, continuing to sat that:
“There is convergence of the relevant TV and telecommunications markets. The commercial partners behind YouView include telecommunications companies with whom Total competes in relation to the services it offers.
“The evidence shows that the YouView set-top boxes are often supplied bundled together with telecommunications services offered by those companies.”
“If YouView uses its ‘YouView’ sign as it has been and is doing, it is likely that the average consumer will be confused in relation to the origin of the goods and services being offered to them.”
This ruling could mean that youView and its shareholders ma have a costly rebrand ahead of them, who have already spent millions in the process of marketing the brand, and that is not even including the amount of cost to the brand because of the obvious confusion about the brand that would come after.
We will update you on the case as more information develops.