Lulu, the a digital marketplace launched by Red Hat co-founder Bob Young, is telling NBC and News Corp. to cease and desist with the use of the name “Hulu” for its new joint venture.
NBC and News Corp., which is run by Rupert Murdoch, announced Hulu as the name of the company in formed earlier this year.
Oddly, Hulu means “cease” and “desist” in Swahili, according to several Web sites.
Late Wednesday, Lulu filed suit in federal court in Raleigh against Hulu, alleging trademark infringement, unfair and deceptive trade practices and federal cyperpiracy.
Hulu, which is scheduled to debut in October, touts itself as a site for distribution of TV shows, movies and other video.
"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," Young said in a statement.
"It is clear we are required to move quickly to protect our intellectual property and defend ourselves against this infringement before it significantly damages our business,” he added.
Young is the owner of Lulu, which is privately held. He launched the company in 2002.
In the complaint, Lulu said Hulu’s “recent name and Internet domain announcements, have intentionally attempted to create confusion in the marketplace. Hulu, in name, as a mark and in their business as a digital content distribution platform, represents a definitive encroachment.”
Lulu operates two Web domains – Lulu.com and Lulu.tv.
Ken Peters, in a note sent to ZDnet, Lulu “seeks only for Hulu.com to stop using the name to avoid confusion in the marketplace between these two digital content platforms, especially for the more than 1.2 million Lulu.com customers.”
Jason Kilar, the chief executive officer at Hulu, said on the firm’s Web site that Hulu was chosen as the name for several reasons.
“Why Hulu? Objectively, Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself. Subjectively, Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we’re building,” he wrote. “Our hope is that Hulu will embody our (admittedly ambitious) never-ending mission, which is to help you find and enjoy the world’s premier content when, where and how you want it.”