EXCLUSIVE: Google with TikTok for supremacy in the ephemeral video space has a new battleground – the courts.

The UK Intellectual Property Corporate Court to be precise and a potential David in Shorts International Ltd trying to tackle the tech goliath. In what could prove to be a long-term cloud of dust, Short TV’s parent company filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Google over its YouTube Shorts division on June 23.

In the chart-rich ranking (read it here), SILs claim the branding and promise of YouTube Shorts, which launched in 2020 as a rival to burgeoning ByteDance-owned TikTok, is “very similar if not identical” to those of ShortsTV was introduced in 2008.


“Furthermore, if Google uses the devices in connection with the YouTube mark or the Google mark YouTube shorts, members of the public are likely to assume that Google owns or acquired the trademark through YouTube,” claims SIL itself. 13,000 strong Title and AMPAS-affiliated ShortsTV.

Last month’s filing comes as SIL is already fighting Google’s efforts to “invalidate” the company’s trademarks. ShortsTV, founded by Carter Pilcher, which includes: AMC Networks As a minority shareholder of its owner of Shorts Entertainment Holdings, Google has had to keep YouTube Shorts apps operated by Sundar Pichai across the aisle for now, as the lawsuit can prove the pin , which is dragged into the global grenade.

“Google has used in commerce, without the consent of SIL, trademark-like signs in relation to goods and services that are identical or similar to the goods and services for which the trademarks are registered, or specific ‘between’ them,” reads the of the injunction filed June 23 and potentially seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in unspecified damages in order to take action. Risk of confusion among the public concerned,” adds the 14-page document. “In court, SIL will seek remedy for all trademark infringements by Google. »

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As part of this lawsuit, SIL, which owns the ShortsTV brands in the UK, EU, India and America, essentially wants YouTube Shorts to be shut down and blown up in its current form. A result that would surely cede the lucrative short-form arena to the thriving TikTok.

To give you an idea of ​​what this is all about, YouTube has previously announced that more than 1.5 billion logged-in users watch YouTube Shorts every month. TikTok’s latest like-for-like data release had over 1 billion monthly users on the dance-heavy platform as of September 2021. In terms of revenue, Google made nearly $257 billion in revenue last year. Supported by ad sales, TikTok generated roughly $4 billion in revenue in 2021, with that number expected to at least triple this year.

Shorts International Ltd reported sales of $11 million in 2020 and $6.8 million in 2021 as the company transitioned to an ad-supported model over the past year.

Google has not responded to Deadline’s request for comment on SIL’s new legal action.

ShortsTV, on the other hand, had a lot to say about his submission outside of it.

“It’s really sad,” CEO Pilcher told Deadline about the standoff between the two companies. “A giant corporation decides to adopt a brand image that we believe to be almost identical to our own and that we have built through decades of collective effort into a recognized and respected name in our industry, and when challenged asks for its cancellation of our brands worldwide, rather than seeking an amicable solution. Unfortunately, this is the position faced by ShortsTV and we had no choice but to pursue this litigation as a last resort. We hope the court will agree that Google infringed our trademarks. »

To add a cruel irony to all of this, the fact that the tens of millions of views that ShortsTV has accumulated over the course of its own history can mostly be found on the company’s YouTube channel.

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