Is that a smartphone you got there or some kind of porn device?

Adult video company alleges smartphone maker HTC is violating its Vivid trademark

I'm going to take a wild stab here and guess that no one who has purchased the new HTC Vivid has been asked why they're using a smartphone made by a porn studio.

There are a couple of reasons this question isn't being asked. For starters, manufacturing mobile devices -- well, mobile communications devices -- generally aren't part of a porn production company's business model.

The other reason is directly relevant to today's case in hand: Porn companies actually don't enjoy high brand awareness among the general population. Even the most ardent and dedicated followers of porn are most likely only dimly aware of corporate brands in adult entertainment (beyond Playboy, of course).

But for some reason porn production house Vivid Entertainment is terribly concerned that HTC's Vivid smartphone, released earlier this month, will confuse consumers. Or tarnish its image. Or something.

In a letter Fed-Exed Monday to Peter Chou, CEO of HTC America, Vivid's law firm, Labowe, Labowe & Hoffman, writes:

It has come to our attention that your company has been making use of the Vivid (trademark) in association with the marketing and sale of a wireless device that your company advertises can surf online websites and is "built to entertain, with movies and shows" on a 4.5-inch screen. Such use of the Vivid Marks creates the false impression that your company and your company's products are affiliated, connected, or associated with and/or sanctioned by Vivid Entertainment and is likely to cause confusion among consumers.

The cease-and-desist letter closes with a threat of legal action if HTC fails to respond by the "close of business" next Monday.

I'm not quite sure what the downside of all that alleged confusion cited in the letter would be for Vivid Entertainment. Perhaps it would somehow compromise Vivid's reputation, or otherwise dilute the brand that has brought us quality video titles such as "Pamela Anderson & Tommy Lee: Hardcore & Uncensored," "Kim Kardashian Superstar" and "Live!!! Nude!!! Girls!!!"

I hope HTC sticks to its guns because 1) Vivid's concerns and demands strike me as unreasonable, and 2) a protracted legal battle means I get to write about this some more.

Also, the case could inspire Vivid's stable of writers to crank out some awesome new scripts. Below are a few ideas to help them get started.

Under the Judge's Robe

Trademark Trollops

Orgy in the Court

Smartphone Sexcapades

Live!!! Nude!!! Litigants!!!

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