Battle gears up for the right to own the 'YouView' trademark

Total and the Market Harborough Building Society challenge consortium over TV brand
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The Independent Online

Total, a Cheltenham-based telecommunications company, is poised to challenge some of the biggest players in UK broadcasting and IT over the proposed use of the trademark "YouView".

A high-profile consortium of the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, Five, Cisco, Humax, Technicolor, TalkTalk and Arqiva has registered YouView as the brand for its planned internet-enabled set-top box. The box will combine digital TV with video-on-demand services to non-subscription audiences and was previously known as Project Canvas.

But Total, which provides services to the telecoms industry, is planning to file a formal objection with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) by this Friday's deadline following its "notice of threatened opposition" lodged on 16 September. It said it had developed an online billing platform branded YourView, "which is set to be an integral part of Total's expansion".

Lorrin White, Total's operations director, said: "YourView was trademarked over a year ago. It has recently come to our attention that an application exists with the IPO for a registration under the name of YouView. Due to time limits involved, it is likely an opposition will follow."

Total is not the only company considering a trademark challenge. The Market Harborough Building Society also submitted a "notice of threatened opposition" and its executive board will decide tomorrow whether to make a formal objection.

The mutual society has, for the past 10 years, operated an online banking account system called YouView for its 50,000 members. It is the second most-popular search term on internet search engines when members are seeking to access their accounts. The society is thought to be concerned at the potential confusion for its customers.

A spokeswoman for the YouView consortium said: "We took legal advice before registering the YouView trademark and are confident that the proposition and name are distinctive in the market. Two companies have filed notices. However, not only are their trademarks distinct from ours, but the companies operate in completely different markets."

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