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YouView may have to rebrand after losing High Court trademark battle

YouView has had a rather troubled history, and it seems that things aren’t getting much better: The company recently lost a UK High Court ruling over trademark infringement, which may mean that it now has to change its name.

YouView was first announced in 2008 as ‘Project Canvas’, a collaboration between the BBC, ITV, and BT, rising from the ashes of the failed ‘Project Kangaroo’, which was itself a joint effort between BBC Worldwide, ITV, and Channel 4 to launch a video-on-demand service. In September 2010, a new company was formed to take Project Canvas forward – YouView TV Ltd.

But it wasn’t until two years later in July 2012, after numerous delays, that YouView finally launched, with the original Canvas trio of companies, along with Channel 4, Channel 5, TalkTalk, and Arqiva. It is a hybrid service with set-top boxes that deliver the free-to-air Freeview channels using the DVB-T2 standard, along with an IPTV component that facilitates streaming of catch-up and premium content over the web.

But while the company has enjoyed some success – swelling to over a million users, with plans to grow to ten million over the next few years – it has been plagued by trademark woes. In 2010, when the YouView name was originally registered, the company was warned that it may face opposition from Google over its YouTube trademark.

Although that never materialised, legal action was brought against the company by telecommunications firm Total, which claimed that the name was too similar to its own trademark, YourView, which it registered in 2009 for its online billing platform.

The UK’s High Court has now ruled against YouView, with the judge asserting that its name is “confusing similar” to YourView. As BBC News reports, Total has now said that it will apply for an injunction preventing YouView from continuing to use its brand, “together with financial payment and legal costs."

YouView now faces the unhappy prospect of having to rebrand its service, unless it can somehow agree terms with Total to allow it to continue operating under its current name. As far as Total is concerned, YouView should have seen this coming; the company’s lawyer Paul Gordon said: “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.” 

YouView isn't planning to give up the fight, though, despite today's ruling. A YouView spokesperson said: "We 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."

Source: BBC News | images via YouView
​This article was updated after publishing to include a statement from YouView.

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