The Portuguese Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) has ruled in favour of leading pay-TV operator ZON in its use of the word ‘fibra’ (fibre) after a challenge from its main competitor Portugal Telecom.
The telco had argued that ZON should not be permitted to use the word because not all of its network is actually fibre but a hybrid of fibre and coaxial cable.
ZON responded that its HFC DOCSIS 3.0 network qualifies as a next generation network. It also argued that currently in the context of telecommunications the word fibre conveys the idea of speed. As such it was used in conjunction with the pay-TV operator’s name to signify the very high speeds of its broadband offer.
In fact, ZON was first in Europe to launch a 1GB broadband offer. ZON’s high speed broadband network now reaches 2.8 million homes, the equivalent of 90% of all homes passed by the cableco, the largest high speed network in Portugal, a country with around 3.8 million TV homes.
The ruling effectively deprives PT from claiming the exclusive ownership of a word in current usage that cannot be registered individually by anyone.