Reinforced reality start Nreal was a hit in this month's CES event, with some even calling the unit a worthy challenger to Magic Leap One.
However, the company's path to success in the US may not be as smooth as it seemed first as a gaming giant Epic Games has submitted a legal challenge that could limit AR boot before it even takes out.
In an opposition application filed in August 2018 with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Epic Games, the company behind Unreal Engine (which many developers use to create AR and VR experiences), as well as gaming events such as Fortnite and Gears of War, challenges Nerse's right to use the name as a trademark of his portable AR system in the United States.
Now, after months of silence, Nreal, has finally responded to the challenge of Epic Games through its own legal filing with the USPTO.
Epic Games Challenge to Nreal's Brand Application Jan. 2018 puts out its case against the start quite clearly.
"NREAL" and "UNREAL" are very similar from a visual perspective. The only difference in spelling – that the applicant's brand lacks a single vowel contained in the Opposers UNREAL marks – does not distinguish the applicant's mark from the resistance of the Opposers UNREAL marks, "reads the application from the Epic Games.
" The applicant's services include " design and development of computer game software and virtual reality software "and" computer programming ", which are closely related to opposers goods related to software used for video game development and virtual and enhanced reality software. "
Despite this challenge , Nreal, represented by his parent company Hangzhou Tairuo Technology, does not support the answer. The response to Epic Games, filed January 21, disputes any allegations of similarities or confusion.  "Opposer [Epic Games] is unlikely to be harmed by registration of the applicant's Hangzhou Tairuo's NREAL badge and therefore lacks the position to oppose the applicant's rating ", the reply from the Nreal team reads.
" Hangzhou Tairuo's brand NREAL is sufficiently distinct and different from Opposer's brands to avoid confusion, fraud or source source , the sponsorship or association of Hangzhou Tairuo's products with Opposer. "
But it is the next passage from Nreal that is true credibility, and indicates that this may be a rather questionable team battle.
"Opposers [Epic Games] marks are not known or known. "UNREAL" in Oppo's brands is commercially weak and dilute, and therefore Opposer is not entitled to sole use of the term "continues the NReal response." In terms of information and conviction, the trade channels consist where both parties sell their products by sale to sophisticated buyers who consider purchasing decisions and they are unlikely to be confused. "
Legal jargon and standard brand wrangling aside, Nreal argued that the Epic Game's unrealistic engine name is not known and is "commercially weak" likely not to lower the temperature of this legal splice.
And if Nreal is led by a small startup team, it may be the end of the story, with Epic Games winning because of them n clean size and resources, but it turns out that Nreal's backstory is not that simple or fragile.
Based in Beijing, China, Nreal was founded by Dr. Xu Chi, who worked at Magic Leap as a software engineer from 2015 to 2016, and just before it served as a GPU architect trainee at Nvidia while completing his Ph.D. in computer technology at the University of Minnesota (he earned his undergraduate degree in the same concentration at Zhejiang University in China).
After a stunt a Magic Leap, in 2017, Xu and his team originated funds from investors Shunwei Capital and Aplus Capital (aka Hongtai Capital Holdings) to approximately $ 15 million. Why are these backers important? Well, Shunwei Capital, which manages a $ 3 billion fund, is also one of the major investors in smartphone powerhouse Xiaomi, as well as the online video giant iQiyi.
Translation: Nreal is no pushover, it has powerful forces that support it.
The next step for both companies, according to a spokesman from the USPTO, is to enter a six-month discovery period, during which they will exchange information and try to either decide and reject the case or finally present all findings to Trademark Trial and Appeals Board for final decision. In some cases, the procedure may take several years.
But this current legal conflict does not prevent Nreal from using the Nreal name in the United States. Although, if Nreal rolls out its product on US beaches under the Nreal name, and then starts losing to the Epic Games, there may be a monetary damages case filed with another court in the future.
And before looking at this as a well-financed David (Nreal) against an overly litigious Goliath, it's worth taking a moment to seriously consider claims in Epic Games "opposition filing. Both companies are in AR space, so the statement and brand dynamics in both may become confusing to some. In addition, a quick Google search little more booklet to Epic Games claims. Search for "Nreal + HoloLens" and Google asks if you mean "Unreal + HoloLens." The same happens when you replace HoloLens and Magic Leap. Seen in this context, Epic Games claim does not seem so frivolous.
Nevertheless, Nreal has not yet announced a sales date for its Nreal Light unit, so the legal implications of potential US sales are not even considered at this point. If the positive reactions to Nreal Light at CES were any indications, Nreal still has a lot of incentive to get their product in the hands of US consumers as soon as possible, whether or not the Epic Games likes it.