Bob Young, founder and owner of Lulu.com, vowed Monday to continue his legal fight against the NBC-News Corp. media joint venture known as Hulu.
Lulu, a fast-growing venture based in Raleigh that works with authors, artists, musicians and others to self-publish their works in a variety of forms, filed suit to stop the Hulu name last September.
However, a federal judge inn Raleigh ruled on Friday that Hulu would be allowed to proceed with the name. Hulu is still in beta inn preparation to a full launch scheduled for this month.
“This decision does not alter our position that this is a case of trademark infringement,” said Young, a co-founder of Linux software developer Red Hat.
“Our concern remains that such semantically and visually similar brands existing in the same core categories will create confusion in the marketplace and especially to the millions of visitors to Lulu.com each month,” he added.
A company spokesperson noted that the judge’s decision was “just phase one” and that the company would seek a trial.
“This is not over as far as we are concerned,” the spokesperson added.
Asked if Lulu was talking with Hulu officials about the case, the spokesperson said, “I can’t comment on that.”
The court decision was handed down late Friday.
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.
Lulu filed suit in federal court, alleging trademark infringement, unfair and deceptive trade practices and federal cyperpiracy.
Hulu 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 when the suit was filed.
"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.
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.”