Hulu has joined Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) Inc. and the nation’s five biggest cable service providers in a fight to stop Dish Network (NSDQ: DISH) from trademarking the term “TV Everywhere.”
As first reported by Multichannel News, which has been tracking this story ever since Dish applied to trademark the term back in September 2009, Hulu filed an opposition brief Thursday with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
The filing came less than one week after Time Warner Inc., along with the top five U.S. multi-system operators, issued a similar opposition document to the trademark office.
Reads Hulu’s opposition brief: “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, laptops, tablet computers, internet-connected TVs, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, mobile telephones and other handheld electronic devices.”
Dish, which isn’t commenting on the opposition and has until next month to respond, is currently using the TV Everywhere moniker to market its Slingbox-enabled services that allow subscribers to watch live and recorded video content on multiple devices over the internet.
Time Warner and the major cable MSOs claim — accurately — that they started using the term to market services like HBO Go prior to Dish’s trademark-office filing.
So which dog does Hulu have in this fight?
Multichannel suspects that the online streaming service — which is jointly owned by NBCUniversal (NSDQ: CMCSA), Disney (NYSE: DIS) and Fox (NSDQ: NWS) — will soon be signing authentication deals related to the cable industry’s broader, generically termed TV Everywhere initiative.
Fox, for example, won’t stream fresh series episodes on Fox.com until eight days after they originally air. However, subscribers of cable, satellite and telco TV services that are signatory to the TV Everywhere initiative — a group that, ironically, includes Dish Network — can authenticate their subscription and watch these shows right away. If Hulu had a similar deal in place, these subscribers could also watch these shows on the streaming service with no delay.