A legal battle over the YouTube Shorts name just took a step forward

By 01/13/2023
A legal battle over the YouTube Shorts name just took a step forward

There’s a brand in the entertainment industry with the word “Shorts” in its name and a play button in its logo. If that description reminds you of YouTube Shorts, you’re thinking along the same lines as Shorts International, which has sued Google for infringing on its trademark.

Shorts International is asking a court to order YouTube to change the name of its short-form platform. The latest development in the case came on January 12, when the U.K. High Court ruled that a prolonged trial will be permitted to carry on.

The court case began on June 23, 2022, when Shorts International filed a copyright infringement suit against Google in the UK’s Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. The distributor alleged YouTube’s use of the “Shorts” name would confuse consumers, who might assume that Google had acquired ShortsTV.


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That channel, which is active on YouTube and several other platforms, is known for distributing short films. Each year, it puts together a compilation of Oscar-nominated shorts, which runs in theaters across the U.S.

“Google has used, in the course of trade, without the consent of SIL, signs that are similar to the Trade Marks in relation to goods and services which are identical or similar to the goods and services for which the Trade Marks are registered or some of them,” reads the injunction submitted by Shorts International. “Because of the similarity there exists a likelihood of confusion on the part of the relevant public.”

When the legal battle first began, Deadline wrote that it had the potential to evolve into a “long-term dust-up.” Six months later, that prediction is looking good. Google will fight hard to prevent YouTube Shorts from being rebranded. Shorts International is also seeking unspecified damages. “This case, in terms of value and importance is at the high end on the scale,” said Google lawyer Lindsay Lane during the latest hearing.

Shorts International had expressed concerns about a longer trial. In a statement provided to Bloomberg, the company cited an “imbalance of resources between the two parties.” But even though the case will continue on, Shorts International is not giving up — far from it. The company stated that the latest decision is “not a victory for Google.” Eventually, we could learn whether the U.K. High Court agrees with the distributor’s claim.

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