In an amusing turn of events, BitTorrent Inc. — the company behind the BitTorrent file sharing protocol — is heading to court to protect its intellectual property. The San Francisco-based company is suing the Berlin-based Bittorrent Marketing GmbH in the Northern District of California for infringing on its trademarked name. According to the suit, Bittorrent Marketing (formerly Day Networks Adlassnig and Partner KEG) inquired about working with BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen back in 2003, and after being rebuffed, registered the Bittorrent trademark in Germany along with "hundreds of domain names" like bittorrent.net, bittorrent.de, and bitorrent.com. The original BitTorrent is alleging that Bittorrent Marketing is using these sites along with ads promising access to music and TV shows to "deceive US consumers into signing up for memberships and other ‘services’ that do not afford those users any tangible benefit" — taking their money for nothing and sending them to Hulu.
Many people instantly connect the word BitTorrent with illegal file sharing, but it’s important to remember that the name is tied to an actual business. Still, we think there are probably a few movie industry execs having a good chuckle right now.