Chatroulette and Trademarks: The Battle Begins
Despite the efforts of 17 year old Russian programmer slash entrepreneur Andrey Ternovskiy it seems that the Chatroulette project isn’t taking off any time soon.
After allegedly turning down $1,000,000 from a Russian investor, Andrey took his video chat project to Silicon Valley, where he met with several investors seeking funds.
The problem seems to be the amount of exhibitionism on the Chatroulette servers, an out of control phenomenon. Never before in the history of the Internet was so much public nudity concentrated on a single web site, as on Chatroulette.com
As soon as traffic started to rise, several clones turned up, attempting to capitalize on the Chatroulette infamy. The technology used by Chatroulette.com was soon matched and surpassed, as several commercial pieces of software can be bought off the Internet to replicate the functionality of Chatroulette.
One such web site is ChatHopper.com which is promoting itself as “Anonymous Speed Chatting”. It’s interesting to note this name because there are a couple of pending trademark applications at the USPTO – including one for “Chatroulette” itself!
Both the Chathopper trademark application and the Chatroulette trademark application are applied for by the same entity – Swiss corporation Tick&Talk AG based in Zurich. Both marks allege use of the respective words in the following classes:
IC 035. US 100 101 102. G & S: Business management, business management consultancy, organisational project management in the field of electronic data processing; professional business consultancy for franchise concepts; merchandising, namely sales promotion for others, cross promotion for others; development of sales and promotional incentive schemes for marketing purposes; arranging of trading and economical contacts, also over the Internet; arranging of contracts, for others, for the buying and selling of goods and/or for the use of services; organization and operating of promotions events; sponsoring in the form of advertising; presentation of companies on the Internet and other media; compilation and systemisation of data of all kinds into computer databases; auctioneering, including on the Internet; advertising agency services; public relations; collating information of all kinds in computer databases; compilation and systemisation of information into computer databases; maintenance of data in computer databases; commercial management of the licensing of goods and services, for othersIC 038. US
100 101 104. G & S: Broadcasting of television programmes; Radio broadcasting; cable television broadcasting services; radio broadcasting; broadcasting of teleshopping programmes; providing access to a global computer network; providing access to computer programs on data networks; providing access to information on the Internet; providing access to computer programs on data networks; providing chatrooms on the Internet; providing portals on the Internet; providing telecommunications channels for teleshopping services; operating chat rooms, chatlines and forums; teletext services; electronic mail; computer-aided transmission of messages and images; collection and delivery of messages; news agencies;terrestrial, cable or satellite broadcasting of teletext; Wireless or cable network broadcasting of radio and television broadcasts/programmes;transmission of film, television, radio, teletext and videotext programmes or broadcasts, including video-on-demand and within the world wide web; on-line services and transmissions, namely transfer of information and messages including E-mail; transmission of computer programs, gadgets, widgets, plug-ins, applets, ring tone, voice, music, MP3, graphics and video image files and of information and messages by means of wireless uploading and downloading via global computer networks on computer and on wireless communications devices, including mobile phones
IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Computer programming; design and development of computer hardware and software; computer programming, namely updating, design and rental of computer software; design, design consultancy, and design of homepages and Internet pages; development of computer programs for incorporating into a graphics user interface or webpage (gadgets, widgets, plug-ins, applets); rental and maintenance of memory space for website applications, for others (webhosting); providing of electronic memory space (webspace) on the Internet; providing access to computer programs on data networks; provision of search engines for the Internet; rental of storage space on the Internet; rental of webservers; rental of computer software; digital data processing, namely electronic data storage
Essentially, both applications are attempting to make use of the Chatroulette service and functionality and add the Chathopper brand as a protected mark. It is evident that the marks are applied for by an entity unrelated to the Russian programmer and apparently related to the Chathopper.com web site and service.
We’ll have to wait and see how this application is treated and whether the marks will receive trademark protection status.