After Introduction of SteamVR, IMAX Apologizes For Trademark Confusion Accusation


Tech website Ars recently ran an article about SteamVR, a home virtual reality system with a rather bulky set-up, but the developer, Valve Software, said that the benefits outweighed the cost of the bulkiness—so much so that it would be like saying, “I have an IMAX in my house.” IMAX’s attorneys, however, didn’t take the comparison as a compliment. The company issued a letter to the website demanding that any reference to its company be removed immediately. The letter argued that the reference would be “misleading to readers” because IMAX did “not believe that it is possible for a virtual reality system to replicate the experience of an IMAX theater.” It further noted that the company provides “cutting edge production and sound technology on screens up to 35.72 meters,” impliedly incomparable to a “‘room-scale’ virtual reality system.”

In response, Ars said the demand made no sense because the article made only one mention of the IMAX in the long article—in a quote from a Valve developer. Additionally, it seemed unlikely that consumers would actually confuse the abilities of an IMAX with the abilities of a room-scale virtual reality system. Finally, the comparison took place within a news article, rather than an advertisement for SteamVR.

IMAX came around, however, and issued an apology within hours after the article was posted. It admitted that the company “acted too quickly without truly understanding the reference to our brand” and said it would “try to be better at taking compliments moving forward.” Probably the appropriate ending to an unusually aggressive takedown request.


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