A federal judge has stopped efforts by do-it-yourself Web publishing firm Lulu to prevent NBC’s and News Corp.’s "Hulu" site from launching it web video site. "Lulu faces no immediate business threat from Web video company Hulu," ruled Judge Terrence Boyle of the U.S. District Court of Eastern North Carolina. Therefore, it has no legal standing on which it can ask a court to stop Hulu from going to market.
Lulu had claimed Hulu was a copy not only of its name but also of its business model. NBC and News Corp. chose the Hulu name specifically to confuse potential customers, the suit had said.
The judge didn’t buy it, saying Lulu makes money by publishing others’ works (authors, artists, musicians, etc) and then taking a cut of the sales. Hulu plans a YouTube-like business that’s will include streaming full-length TV shows from NBCU- and News Corp.-owned networks.
Bob Young, founder and owner of Lulu.com, vowed to continue his legal fight "This decision does not alter our position that this is a case of trademark infringement," Young, a co-founder of Linux software developer Red Hat, told WRAL.com. "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."
A company spokesperson told WRAL the judge’s decision was "just phase one" and that the company would seek a trial.