With the HTC Vivid garnering mixed reviews, it looks like the device’s name may be the most interesting thing about it. At least one company thinks so, anyway: the porn peddlers at Vivid Entertainment have filed a cease and desist notice against the company for use of the “Vivid” name.
According to TMZ, Vivid’s legal counsel filed the notice because they are afraid consumers will think the LTE-capable smartphone is somehow connected to Vivid’s adult video empire. Yes, really. Just let that sink in for a moment.
While this all looks like a big joke, Vivid Entertainment seems awfully serious about protecting their brand. If HTC doesn’t agree to a name change by next Monday, Vivid claims that they’re ready to take their case to court. Let’s be honest here: I don’t doubt that Vivid’s got some legal muscle, but HTC’s team of lawyers has surely fought tougher battles over the years.
Whether or not Vivid has any legal standing here is sure to be debated by scores of armchair jurists, but their claims of potential customer confusion seem a tad spurious to me. While I’d love nothing more than to take a gander at to HTC’s official reply, the company has said they “won’t have any further comment” until the issue gets straightened out.
UPDATE: Vivid Entertainment has just issued a release that explains their side of the story. Here are the relevant bits:
[Vivid's attorney Mark Hoffman] said HTC America’s use of the Vivid trademarks “creates the false impression that your company and your company’s products are affiliated, connected, or associated with and or sanctioned by Vivid Entertainment.” He added, “We believe it is possible that your company is not unaware of this conflict.”
Mr. Hoffman gave HTC America until Monday, November 21 to respond to his letter and cease using the Vivid trademark or “our client will have no alternative but to pursue all legal remedies.”
“For the past 27 years Vivid has worked hard to protect and build its brand. We believe this is a clear infringement and will use all legal remedies available to protect our trademark,” said Steven Hirsch, founder/co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment.