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Dish wants NCR to remove Blockbuster name from video rental kiosks
By MARIA HALKIAS
Published 12 May 2011 06:48 PM
Dish Network Corp. has told NCR Corp. to stop using the Blockbuster brand on its movie rental vending kiosks.
NCR operates about 9,000 of the big blue and yellow Blockbuster Express kiosks, including 300 in North Texas. As recently as April, NCR said it planned to increase the number to 11,000 by year-end.
Option to reject
As part of Dish’s bankruptcy court-approved acquisition of Dallas-based Blockbuster last month, the Englewood, Colo.-based satellite network operator has the option to accept or reject contracts and leases.
Dish Network and Blockbuster “have exercised their rights to direct NCR Corp. to cease using certain trademarks under the NCR agreement,” said a court document filed Tuesday in New York.
Dish also said it’s rejecting a joint marketing agreement with NCR as of May 26, when a bankruptcy court hearing is scheduled.
The move to strip NCR of the Blockbuster name is “invalid and unenforceable,” said NCR spokesman Jeff Dudash.
The trademark licensing agreement is held by a trust that wasn’t part of Blockbuster’s bankruptcy filing last September, Dudash said. “Blockbuster is a beneficiary of that trust, but Dish can’t terminate the trademark agreement.”
In the court filing, Dish said it has instructed the trustee to terminate the license. Dish may want to operate the kiosk business itself instead of just receiving royalties.
A Blockbuster spokesman said the company “continues to evaluate the kiosk rental business and the variety of ways we provide access to our expansive inventory of family entertainment.”
Under the trademark usage license that dates back to 2008, NCR owns and operates the kiosk and pays Blockbuster fees for using its brand. Duluth, Ga.-based NCR negotiates directly with studios for DVDs.
NCR is installing Blockbuster Express kiosks in 309 RaceTrac convenience stores in Texas and other states.
In North Texas, NCR already has kiosks at 7-Eleven and QuikTrip convenience stores and Tom Thumb, Brookshire and Fiesta supermarkets.