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NCR sues Blockbuster trust to continue using the chain's name on kiosks

May 31, 2011 |  4:23 pm

The new owners of Blockbuster Inc. are in a fight with a company that licenses the name for movie rental kiosks.

NCR Corp., which was recently told by Blockbuster parent Dish Network Corp. that the satellite broadcaster was terminating their 2-year-old agreement, has sued for the right to continue to use the name Blockbuster Express on its vending machines that allow consumers to rent and buy DVDs.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware on Friday, is seeking to prevent the loss of the Blockbuster name on about 9,000 kiosks in grocery and convenience stores throughout North America. The suit alleges that the BB 2009 Trust,  which was set up to administer Blockbuster's intellectual property rights, lacks the grounds to end the agreement.

The Duluth, Ga., company also seeks the court's finding that NCR's continued use of the Blockbuster name, under terms of the license agreement, would not constitute trademark infringement, according to the filing.

"We believe that Dish’s position is invalid and unenforceable," said NCR spokesman Jeffrey Dudash. "We filed a lawsuit in Delaware to confirm that the termination is ineffective."

A Dish Network spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit. 

Under Bankruptcy Court rules, Dish has the right to accept or reject existing Blockbuster contracts, including leases on various physical store locations.

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski