Orange County - Hulu, the subscription-based ad-supported website that streams videos of television shows, movies, and webisodes, has recently joined in a fight to stop Dish Network's registration of the trademark "TV Everywhere."
Co-owned by the Walt Disney Co., News Corp., and NBC Universal, Hulu filed a formal opposition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and Appeal Board on February 29, claiming that Dish Network's "TV Everywhere" is merely descriptive and too generic of a term to be a trademark. Hulu also contends that allowing Dish Network to obtain exclusive trademark rights to the term would infringe on its business platforms, namely advertising and subscription-based video-on-demand services.
The platforms for the TV Everywhere service are designed to allow authenticated pay-TV subscribers to access on-demand (and some live) programming 24/7 on multiple consumer electronics devices around the home. Supporters for TV Everywhere, which include Time Warner Cable and Comcast, insist that the new platform is a solution to subscription-based services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
Colorado-based Dish Network, which owns the flailing Blockbuster LLC, filed a trademark application in 2009 for "TV Everywhere" to cover all areas of television transmission, including Internet-transmitted content, streaming, data transmissions and file sharing across multiple electronic devices on a network. Dish Network is also reportedly attempting to secure trademark rights for a term that is synonymous with the developing technology in home entertainment and how viewers receive their consumer content from television. The satellite TV operator currently markets the Slingbox and SlingPlayer to stream, rather than download, content to mobile and connected devices both in and out of the home.
The TV Everywhere platform has been slow to gain momentum as MVPD service providers like cable television providers, direct-broadcast satellite providers, and wireline video providers struggle with content owners seeking additional revenue for unlimited access.
In an ironic twist to the fight, Hulu co-owners Disney and News Corp. have demanded that content designated for TV Everywhere also be available on Hulu, a concept that is under fire from Time Warner and CBS Corp. CBS is reportedly in opposition to Hulu being an advertisement-supported service, however CBS does support the subscription-based Hulu Plus due to its more lucrative content licensing agreements.