Lulu sues Hulu

Lulu logoA dispute has between the holders of the and websites. Lulu Enterprises has filed a lawsuit against Hulu, a division of N-F Newsite, itself a joint venture between News Corp and NBC. The lawsuit alleges trademark infringement, unfair and deceptive trade practices and federal cyberpiracy. Lulu claims that Hulu, which is set to officially launch in October, has intentionally tried to create confusion in the marketplace with its similar name and domain name.

“The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages and an injunction prohibiting the NBCU and News Corp. joint venture from using Hulu, or any similar name. It also seeks to have the domain name transferred to Lulu,” according to reports in Multichannel News.

“The firm added that the choice of name represents a ‘definitive encroachment’ on the business of because both sites publish digital content, according to a report in The Guardian.

Lulu is best known as a website for authors to publish and sell books, while Hulu is an online video venture. Lulu’s CEO Bob Young said, “We have spent more than five years and tens of millions of dollars in investment successfully building the Lulu brand and website into a place for millions of creators and consumers to publish, buy, sell and manage digital content. It is clear we are required to move quickly to protect our intellectual property and defend ourselves.”

Hulu is concerned as, while now they have few similarities, in the future this is likely to change. Speaking to The Guardian, Bob Young said “But the big problem is that neither of us know where our businesses are going in the future.

The odds are we’ll both end doing something other than what we started out to do.

“It is highly likely that in five years time, 80% of our revenues will come from completely different products and services.”

Hulu is not yet operational, planning to launch a private beta version of its service in October and will offer programming through its distribution partner sites: AOL, Comcast, MSN, MySpace, and Yahoo.

The lawsuit alleges “Hulu’s recent domain name announcement and trademark filing ‘intentionally attempted to create confusion in the marketplace,” according to Wired. Further, “It will probably strike many as ironic that Hulu’s name, the one component of the venture that has generated the most chatter, is now responsible for the venture’s first major challenge.”

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