Sigh: Oculu File Trademark Dispute Against Oculus Rift

By John Walker on February 12th, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

More trademark bullshittery is taking place, this time targeted at Oculus Rift. The 3D goggles are being taken to court by a company you’ve never heard of called Oculu, for “false designation of origin, trademark dilution and unfair competition”. So what 3D virtual reality hardware do Oculu make? Oh, wait, hang on – they appear to be a business-oriented video streaming service.

Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset, used to display games, and other media, in all-encompassing 3D. Oculu is a “Video platform for businesses and publishers”, offering a “supply side video/pre-roll monetization platform for publishers” as well as all manner of “solutions”.

Meanwhile, Ocular Instruments creates ophthalmic lenses, Ocular LCD supplies touch panels and display products, and OCUL is the Ontario Council of University Libraries. None of these companies have yet seen fit to take Oculus Rift to court.

Oculu, however, are not only claiming trademark violation, but appearing to go so far as to directly state that Oculus Rift deliberately copied their name. According to Ars Technica, the lawsuit filing states,

“Unfortunately, [Oculus co-founder Palmer] Luckey, decided that he would simply add an ‘s’ to Oculu’s registered trademark and call his product and online video distribution network, Oculus. It could have adopted any number of trademarks.”

It seems fairly important to note that Oculus Rift isn’t an online video distribution network. But way to slip that one in there! I think I might sue Walkers Crisps for their “crisp production and writing about PC games on the internet”.

You can just imagine the scenes at the as-yet unnamed Oculus Rift HQ, as Palmer Luckey, Brendan Iribe and Michael Antonov were batting about names.

“Um, Netflixs?”

“No, what about Twitchs?”

“That’s not quite right. Youtubes!”

“Guys, wait, I’ve got it. Oculus.”

*stunned silence*

Yesssssss. So there it is. Oculu, a registered trademark that covers only “Streaming of audio and video material by means of the Internet” is attempting to take on Oculus Rift. A company which recently received $75m in funding to help bring the product to stores.

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101 Comments »

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  1. CookPassBabtridge says:

    All’s fair in love, war and trying to felch money out of the anus of the foetid corpse of a donkey

    • JacquelineOreillyama says:

      my co-worker’s step-sister makes $85 hourly on the computer . She has been without a job for eight months but last month her check was $12487 just working on the computer for a few hours. find more info……… http://WWW.KeptMoney.COM

      • Uboa Noticed You says:

        Oh hey spambot, we were just talking about you!

        • Ross Angus says:

          That’s such a good comment, I don’t want the spam comment to be deleted.

        • jrod says:

          If I had been drinking milk, which I was not, it would have shot out of my nose

  2. staberas says:

    YES time too register GOOGLES.COM and get sued …. oh wait

    I hope this BS will be dealt fast and get our OculuS Rift in time.

    • Corb says:

      I really hope they slap Oculu with a monetary fine for being “abnormally obnoxious and for delving into the depths of stupidity and wasting everybodys time”.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        To be fair, you can trademark a word in a particular market.

        Of course, trademarking “OCULUS” where the only commonality with the market you’re sabre-rattling about is that it involves LOOKING AT THINGS is pretty specious.

        This won’t get anywhere in court, but rift may well decide it’s worth 5k to settle.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          I hope they don’t settle. That’s what companies like this hope for. They throw this crap around and see if it’ll stick, hoping most people will rather pay them to go away than actually deal with it. This how Tim Langdell got away with abusing others for decades on end with his dubious “Edge” trademark.

          Let it go to court, win, then sue these Oculu asshats for damages, and then lodge complaints to the bar to have their attorney that filed the suit censured or right out disbarred. Fuck these people. Take them, fuck them up, and shake them down. Show them that they just fucked up, big time, and that they’re going to have face serious consequences for their bullshit.

          I hope Oculus Rift stare these asshole down and tell them point blank, “bring your bullshit, because after we get done fucking you up, we’re going to grind your broken corpse to dust.”

          • Vardas says:

            This. So much fucking THIS. While all the bullshit of King and their candy shit is going on, I’d love to see soem justice served to these kinds of assholes. I really hope Oculus Rift destroy them to the point of bankruptcy. Perhaps it can then serve as a warning to other idiots thinking of pushing trademark law over the boundaries for some quick cash-in.

    • Premium User Badge

      bglamb says:

      Yeah, I mean for once the trolls are going after someone with the resources to smack them back down, hopefully!

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        It’s happened before. The very long story of Tim Langdell and his trademark on “Edge” is a fantastic tale. He fucked up when he thought he could bully EA over Mirror’s Edge.

  3. tyren says:

    Ahahahaha. “They used an actual word that is one letter off from our name that is totally made up and not derived from that word. Clearly they are deliberately copying us and not the dictionary!”

    Pathetic.

  4. Nim says:

    Is this another one of those “If we don’t do this we lose our trademark” cases?

    • Entitled says:

      Improbable, given that there are no such things.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        Yes, there is.

        The term is called trademark dilution and causes trademark erosion. It is what leads to a trademark becoming generic. A great example of this, and a very iconic one, is Linoleum. Used to be a trademarked term but became genericized after a ruling in a trademark infringement case.

        However, this Oculus Rift vs Oculu is pretty blatantly frivolous, especially with the claim of Trademark Dilution being so obviously laughable.

    • HothMonster says:

      If by that you mean “flaming pile of bullshit that we will make all manner of excuses about but really we just want some settlement money” then yes, it is.

    • Spakkenkhrist says:

      I think it’s one of those “they have money and we want some” cases.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        I see you know a lot about trademark law and IP protection because you read some article on EFF.

        So, tell me, then: why have numerous companies lost their TM or been denied renewal or continued use of their TMs due to them becoming genericized? Why did Xerox wage a decade-long campaign targeted at office environments to remind people that the machines were called “photocopiers” and not “xeroxes”? I suppose they just like throwing money away, right?

        While you don’t have to go around suing anyone and everyone over loose and bizarre affiliations, trademark erosion is a very real thing and can be a huge loss for a company. But I guess you already knew that, what with your expertise gleaned from your terrible misreading of an EFF article.

  5. Hypnotron says:

    Occulus Rift is streaming video to the eyeballs!

    • jkz says:

      It is streaming a different image to each eye separately which is twice as bad!

  6. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Unfortunately, [Oculus co-founder Palmer] Luckey, decided that he would simply add an ‘s’ to Oculu’s registered trademark

    This has got to be the stupidest thing I’ve read all month. It’s Latin, for fuck’s sake.

    And they really put that in a court filing, seriously? When every lawyer and judge in the country has enough understanding of Latin terminology to instantly recognize that?

    • staberas says:

      I think patent troll lawyer DON’T care about anything but extorting and asking for settlements….

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        It’s just sad that IP claims can’t be instantly thrown out on the basis of making flagrant bad faith arguments.

        • MrUnimport says:

          They can’t?

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          They can. Furthermore, at least I know you can in the USA, you can complain to the bar (legal association that certifies lawyers) and register a complaint. If the lawyer is found to have knowingly filed frivolous, misleading, or fraudulent case(s), then that lawyer may be held in contempt of court where they can be fined, sentenced to jail time, and have their right to practice law stripped from them.

          People need to do this more often. It’s not just these idiot clients, it’s these idiot lawyers that enable these kinds of clients.

    • Stickman says:

      Doubly amusing since “oculus” is real-life English word and “oculu” is just some made-up shit. Seriously, how the hell do you pronounce “oculu” without sounding like a jackass?

      E: I guess it could be like “Cthulu”, just with fewer tentacles.

  7. rikvanoostende says:

    Normally I love these David vs Goliath trademark battles, but it’s hard to root for the underdog when he brings neither a sling nor stones.

  8. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    Solution: All trademarks in the future need to be salted hashes of more common words.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    In the meantime, King.com is busy taking away the livelihood of an indie developer who created a game to honor the memory of his dead mother.

    http://www.candyswipe.com/king.html

    • derbefrier says:

      well that’s just very sad, poor guy.

    • edwardh says:

      Oh man… if that story is true that is really awful. And I can’t help but wonder how purchasing an additional trademark allows you to rob somebody else of his trademark.

      • Moraven says:

        Yah I am curious about that.

        Candy Crusher existed since 2004. Candy Swipe 2010.
        King bought Candy Crusher in Jan 2014. Now they asert they have the right to the trademark since they own a older one. Which for 3 years had no problems with Candy Swipe.

        The pdf order is dated Feb 11, 2014.

        King is asserting by virtue of the assignment that:

        Candy Crusher is the legal equalialent of King’s Candy Crush and Candy Crush Saga marks such that King can tack on the prior use of Candy Crusher onto its use of the Candy Crush marks. . As to confusing similarity, Runsome has argued CCS is confusinly similar to CandySwipe. If true, CandySwipe is confusingly similar to Candy Crusher such that consumers will likely wrongly associate Runsome’s CandySwipe game with King’s prior Candy Crusher mark. This would damage King and supports King’s proposed petition for cancellation of Runsome’s registration under some law.

        So they bought up a similar trademark that has be ‘consistently’ used with games, gaming software and now are assuming priority for the Candy X mark for anything past 2004.

        • edwardh says:

          Sounds like you’re not just curious but you actually know? ;)
          I really hope this won’t go through… after all, one can easily see which of these three are similar and which aren’t. At least as a gamer…

    • Premium User Badge

      blind_boy_grunt says:

      my god, that actually makes me angry(it seems legit, but i’m no lawyer).
      I find it funny that the guy seems to actually have a good reason for the thing king’s been doing. And instead of king maybe just buying him out (it’s one guy, how much could it cost?) they get another unrelated ip from before his. This is like all the lawyer cliches you see all the time made real.

      “King believes that IP – both our own IP and that of others – is important and should be properly protected. Like any prudent company, we take all appropriate steps to protect our IP in a sensible and fair way. At the same time, we are respectful of the rights and IP of other developers.”

      • Moraven says:

        Funny to see after the CEO said all this:
        http://about.king.com/about/our-approach-to-ip

        He did say to drop him a line:
        please feel free to drop me a line at rz@king.com I look forward to hearing from you.

        • Henson says:

          I read an article where the author did write to Riccardo’s email about the IP issue. The reply he received? –> “I was contacted by a third party PR representative on behalf of King who advised me of the following: “King’s official position on IP protection is outlined in Riccardo’s open letter.”

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          According to teh googles, his real email address is riccardo@king.com if you actually want to email this asshole.

    • Scurra says:

      Oh my goodness. That story has all the makings of an horrendous car-crash; I actually did have some small amount of feeling for King in the whole “protecting our trademark” thing (the law is an ass, but it’s the law.) However, this steps so far over the line that it’s not even funny. King are in serious danger here, but they don’t seem to realise it. And it serves them right.

    • Philomelle says:

      The site keeps giving me 503 errors, meaning the sheer number of hits keeps crashing it. This, at least, means people are aware of this open letter to the point where King wouldn’t be able to sweep this under the rug even if they really wanted to.

    • Premium User Badge

      Biscuitry says:

      This isn’t how trademarks are supposed to work. This is the opposite of how trademarks are supposed to work. The entire point is to protect legitimate businesses from exactly what King are doing.

    • Premium User Badge

      PikaBot says:

      Absolutely disgusting.

    • Wulfram says:

      The bit about his mother seems a bit unnecessary when it’s basically a simple business dispute going on. A business dispute that doesn’t seem to have been initiated by King for once.

      • Kitsunin says:

        But it was. Initially Candy Swipe’s creator tried to combat their trademark of “Candy Crush” or whatever, because it was confusing people between his game and it. When that failed he was fine, but now King is trying to take his trademark despite him having it first and them pretty much having infringed upon it in the first place.

    • Misha says:

      I have a feeling that a certain Guido CEO of King.com is about to become acquainted with the Streisand Effect.

  10. Shooop says:

    If they get a half-competent judge they’ll throw this out and slap them with a fine for wasting everyone’s time.

    It’s even dumber than the “Scrolls” case some time ago.

    • PegasusOrgans says:

      Except, no, the “Scrolls” issue wasn’t dealt like that. They get to make one game using the word “Scrolls” and that’s it. Bethesda, pretty much won! It seems the courts are on the side of the trademark trolls.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    Oculus Rift is a video distribution service. It just distributes video over an extremely short distance.

  12. Calculon says:

    EA sucks. Oh wait. That was another article.

    It seems patent/trademark trollery isn’t dead quite yet.

    (EA still sucks)

  13. UKPartisan says:

    You can tell Oculu to go screw themselves here http://www.oculu.com/contact-live-video-streaming-platform/

  14. ucfalumknight says:

    ** Post fail. This is in response to Lars Westergen above,

    Wow, does King.Coms douchebaggery know no bounds? Buying another TM to fight off a TM opposition? Wow. I am strongly considering a letter to my state and federal legioslators and asking them how this is legal. I will tell everyone I know that Candy Crush Saga is a toxic cancer hoping to devour small independent game developers.

  15. Solidstate89 says:

    I guess Oculu just has millions to waste in frivolous lawsuits? They have to know they can’t win this – the companies don’t compete against each other in any capacity, and thus there’s literally no trademark infringement.

    • PegasusOrgans says:

      Corporations are always getting away with murder. Did you miss the 2008 crash? I don’t know how you guys remain so optimistic and naive.

  16. vlonk says:

    A one letter difference in a trademark is only insignificant if it leads to no consumer confusion. Oculu might have a good point here.

    The case will be most likely decided on the question if both trademarks compete in the same consumer market (and can therefore lead to the confusion of the consumers).

    Now we all know here that video distribution and a VR hardware are too very seperate products. They COULD be combined though in conference calls… will there be other Oculus products, like a VR conference software? what about Luckeys push for developers, will they brand the software as Oculus approved products?

    This case will have some very funny lawyer-talk as both sides need to endlessly proclaim either “the obvious similarities” or “the obvious differences” between their respective companies.

    Good to know that both companies have ample cash to fight the fight over the latin word for eye… Here are some lawsuits for the future to watch out for going by the declination of the word:
    oculus, oculos, oculi, oculo, oculum, oculom, ocule, oculorum, oculis…

    Oculorum sounds nifty…

    • Zafman says:

      oculo, oculus, oculut, oculumus, oculutis, oculunt
      no, that’s not it…
      ocubam, ocubas, ocubat, ocubamus, ocubatis, ocubant
      not in here either…
      oculus, oculus, ocului, oculum, oculu <- HA! I knew it! Somewhere in the 4th declension. THEY STOLE IT FROM THE ROMANS! CRUCIFY THEM!
      QUAMQUAMSUNTSUBAQUASUBAQUAMALEDICERETEMPTANT

      • Premium User Badge

        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        Now write it out a hundred times. And if it isn’t done by morning…

      • Premium User Badge

        Llewyn says:

        Somewhere in the 4th declension…

        …lurk the Trademark Trolls, seething and roiling, scratching and clawing at the walls of their prison, seeking only the tiniest Rift to tear through into our universe, and to lay waste to all in their path…

  17. Premium User Badge

    Fitzmogwai says:

    Today I’m in a filthy, misanthropic mood and wish only that the purveyors of such total cockery would simply die. It’s unlikely that the world will lose a cure for cancer without them.

    • Zafman says:

      How dare you? “Cockery” is MY word, along with “Roostery” and “Chickeny”.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Your claim to the word chickeny infringes on my popular and successful phrase “Do you want chicory with that?” A question I ask my family when I have made than a delicious vegetable side dish to accompany their main meal. Now, when I ask, people quite literally mistake my question and believe that I am offering them your product instead. While I have only held this trademark since 1990 and I understand yours is older, I have recently acquired the trademark “chicken nation”, an ancient neolithic establishment that predates yours by millenia. I therefore post preactively in advance challenge your trademark and we will now wage battle in the arena, by throwing money at the greediest lawhippos we can find until one of them vomits or one of us runs out of cash.

        Sincerely,

        The Chairman

      • The Random One says:

        What chickanery.

      • Hasslmaster says:

        Your words are beautiful. You should publish three free-to-play MMOs ASAP.

  18. Zafman says:

    I assume this means that all occult practices are henceforth banned as well? Scientific societies world-wide will cry out in disbelief, as they have to remove all oculars from their instruments.
    I’d like to use the opportunity to publicly announce that my cat is eighteen years old and called Candy. I can only hope I’m not in too much trouble for not giving a damn, but at her age she won’t take too kindly to a sudden name change…and anyway, she had it first! Renaming a cat of senior age is not only cruel but would also deliver a crushing blow to…huh? Sorry…strike that. So the saga contin…OH, FOR *CENSORED*!!!

  19. LunyAlex says:

    There’s a ophthalmology clinic a few blocks away from me called Oculuss.

    Guess I should pitch them the idea.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I suggest this actual thing. Nothing better to troll a troll than beat them at their own game (if you have said power!). Just change the entire company to OculussssssssssWOWbang! and still make millions, then when Oculu goes down for not actually working and spending too much time chasing shadows, change it to Oculus and bring out a 2d version called Oculu… just to put salt in it. :P

  20. MattTheButler says:

    I created an account to point out the fact that Oculu.com is designed on a weebly template.

    No joke.

  21. Rockman says:

    This is great, so the guys at oculus saw the Oculu brand, decided they would take it and modify it for their own…. has NOTHING to do with the fact oculus is an actual word relating to vision of course.

    If this doesn’t get pointed at, laughed at, giggled and insulted out of the court room everyone present will be a waste of blood and organs.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Hmmm, from their facebook:
      “Think your online video content can go #viral? Maybe or maybe not, but use these 2 strategies to ensure your getting viewers to watch!”
      Perhaps this court proceeding is some of that negative advertising for advertising sake?

  22. heldelance says:

    Right. Because “Oculu” obviously means something to do with “vision” in some language. Maybe if the arse hat who created the company name knew how to spell or look up a dictionary, then I could see the validity of the case.

    “Oculus” should have the name as it’s an actual word that actually is a rather good description of what the device is.

  23. MeestaNob says:

    These laws need to be fixed NOW.

  24. Shadowcat says:

    Clearly they’re basing their case on a significant proportion of the populace (or perhaps just themselves) having no clue how to use an apostrophe. After all, Oculu’s Rift would obviously be their own product.

  25. mhalemary says:

    my best friend’s step-mother makes $71 /hour on the laptop . She has been without work for nine months but last month her pay check was $17837 just working on the laptop for a few hours. why not try here

    http://WWW.jobsaa.COM

  26. Geen says:

    Man, I feel sorry for the judges who have to deal with this bullshit.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      “Unfortunately, [Oculus co-founder Palmer] Luckey, decided that he would simply add an ‘s’ to Oculu’s registered trademark and call his product and online video distribution network, Oculus.”

      They could have just said “we think you’ll fall for the oldest trick in the book and have nothing but contempt for your intelligence, your honor.”

  27. MonicaDWolford says:

    my roomate’s step-mother makes $64 every hour on the computer . She has been unemployed for five months but last month her pay was $21194 just working on the computer for a few hours.
    check my source,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, http://www.Fizzjob.com

  28. racccoon says:

    They have a case that’s a fact.
    In any case Oculus will be sued from customers who will get eye sight disorders of their vision by way of erratic constant flicking of the eyes and loss of sight from using the Oculus system anyway. So they are just waiting to be sued.

  29. Uboa Noticed You says:

    Let’s be honest, has anyone here EVER heard of Oculu?
    Maybe they’re hoping for a Streisand effect from this and people will use their service more since they’re getting publicity?
    Besides, Oculu sounds suspiciously similar to the much more famous video streaming site, hulu…

  30. Sir_Pete says:

    Why those companies always wait that much to object this trademark bullshit?

    • Armante says:

      Well they only recently got the $75,000,000 so now it’s worth some ass-hat’s time to write it up and hope to be handed some money to settle out of court, which they can then take their fees out of.

      Wankers.

  31. Neurotic says:

    “A company which recently received $75m in funding to help bring the product to stores.” I suspect that’s why it’s happening now, as opposed to any time in the last few years of OR’s life. $75m is catnip to arseholes like these Oculu people. Arsenip?

  32. frightlever says:

    Well, they should have done a more thorough search before picking a name. You don’t start tinning beans and calling them Heins.

    I bet RPS would be delighted at rockspapershotgun.com

    Anyway, don’t see this going anywhere as OR isn’t a streaming service, but it would depend on what the Oculu trademark covers.

  33. Megakoresh says:

    Hey it’s advertisement, and maybe the court will force this “Oculu” company to actually pay Oculus Rift a compensation. Some million dollars. Enough to make this “Oculu” company go bankrupt. That would be really nice. And maybe put a personal charge on the initiator of the class action. Make him homeless. Ahaha. That would be super-nice :)

  34. Jamrock says:

    Oculus is latin for eye. They didn’t “unfortunately” add the S, it was already there! My goodness I can’t believe how c*nty people can be.

  35. Premium User Badge

    psepho says:

    While Oculu do sound quite trolly, there’s really no excuse for an operation of the scale of Oculus Rift to get sued for trade mark infringement. Trade marks are all a matter of public record, it is pretty basic for a business to carry out trade mark clearance searches before launching a new brand.

    So in this case I have less sympathy with Oculus Rift. Either they did do clearance, in which case they will have known about Oculu and took a calculated risk; or they didn’t do clearance in which case either they were being cheapskates on their legal advice (yes, this can happen!) or they were badly advised (in which case I am actually a bit sympathetic).

  36. HisDivineOrder says:

    I’d say the difference between Oculus and Oculu business models is about the same as the difference between Sky in the UK and Skydrive for Microsoft.

    I’d also say that such copyright crap is nonsense, but it’s pretty consistently done in regards to what is considered wrong and what’s not. I think this stinks of a small company that had a name and wanted to wait until Oculus on the cusp of making real money before they either demanded a payment immediately or used the similarity for maximum benefit of advertising their branding.

    They want a payoff.

  37. Misha says:

    I’d be more excited about “Oculu”‘s obviously bullshit suit if they were challenging the copyright of a product that actually, you know, existed.

    On shelves, you know. In actual stores. As opposed to in the imagination of websites.

  38. stupid_mcgee says:

    If anyone wants to read something that is actually informative regarding this case, I highly suggest Eric Greenbaum’s blog post.

    http://greenbaumpatent.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/oculus-vs-oculu-begun-the-ip-war-has/

  39. Nate says:

    Should’ve gone with Apples Rift. Then they would never have to deal with any silliness like this.

  40. Reginald XVII Archduke of Butts says:

    In the IT Industry, you’re not somebody unless somebody else is filing some sort of nuisance IP lawsuit against you.