YouView sued over trademark as naming dispute escalates

A judge has already told YouView its trademark was stepping on Total's toes, but Lord Sugar's company has refused to change its name.

On-demand TV service YouView is being sued, by a company that claims its name is way too similar to one of its own services.

Telecommunications service Total Ltd registered the trademark for its 'YourView' online customer portal in 2009, and now says that the Lord Sugar-chaired YouView is trampling disastrously all over its property like an elephant in golf shoes.

YouView has already been told by a High Court that its name was "confusingly similar" to Total's service, but Lord Sugar and cohorts seemed unfazed, saying that it had "no intention of changing its name".

YouView is a coalition of the UK's major telly providers, including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five, as well as Internet service providers. It was delayed for years but acquired its YouView moniker back in 2010, before which it was known as 'Project Canvas'. Its first product earned a whopping four and a half stars in our review, as well as an Editors' Choice award.

The trademark Total owns is 'YOUR VIEW', but despite having an extra 'r', the Trade Marks Registry said (.pdf link) back in May, "There will be a likelihood of confusion between YOUR VIEW and YOUVIEW," and so YouView was told it couldn't have its name trademarked, at least in respect to goods and services like broadcasting, computer software and telecomms apparatus.

None of that has stopped YouView however, whose ads can be seen on telly and on billboards across our fair nation. Now Total is formally suing Sugar and pals, saying, "Despite the recent vindication of our position in the appeal proceedings we believe that YouView has continued to act without regard to our registered mark and business interests."

The irate organisation continues, "We have had no choice but to issue infringement proceedings and we are confident of success."

Arty Rajendra, a partner at intellectual property firm Rouse said YouView is taking an "enormous risk" by continuing to use its name. "YouView will have to incur significant legal fees defending the action and are at risk of losing the name altogether."

On the other hand, as YouView is trying to launch a new service to compete with the likes of Sky and Virgin Media, losing any name recognition it's earned so far would be a nightmare for Lord Sugar and his associates.

One option could be for YouView to license the name from Total, a solution that would see the British TV enterprise digging into its wallet. Personally I think the names and services both companies provide are different enough that shoppers will figure out the difference, but then I'm no legal eagle.

Are the titles different enough, or should YouView change its name? Give us your view tell me what you think in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

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