Hubbard Broadcasting is suing Facebook over its new TikTok alternative, Reels.
Hubbard has filed suit in a Minnesota U.S. district court alleging “trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition,” citing its REELZ® cable/satellite video service, which is also available on computers, smart TV’s and other devices, it points out.
Claiming ongoing and irreparable harm, Hubbard is asking the court to enjoin Facebook/Instagram from using the “Reels” name and seeks trebled damages as well as whatever profits the company has derived from use of the allegedly infringing name, plus court costs and any other relief the court wants to grant.
Facebook’s Reels is a way to create and post short-form videos to Instagram. Reels was rolled out last week, looking to capitalize on the fact that the U.S. government is banning similar service, TikTok.
Defendants’ use of ‘Reels’ as the banner name of their new media service infringes Hubbard’s valuable REELZ® trademarks. This should come as no surprise to Defendants — they knew about Hubbard’s trademarks before choosing ‘Reels’ over innumerable other options,” Hubbard told the court. “Defendants’ use of “Reels” usurps the goodwill embodied in Hubbard’s REELZ® trademarks and is likely to confuse consumers.”
“It is crucial to Plaintiffs’ continued success in an ever-changing and evolving digital environment to distinguish and differentiate the REELZ® brand from the constant stream of new services and competitors, as a linear network, an on-demand service, and as part of any other media platforms on any and all devices.”
Hubbard pointed out that at least one news outlet had already confused Reels and REELZ.