Nvidia and Dish Network, a satellite TV company, are in a legal tussle over the use of the word ‘Hopper’. On the one side, you have Nvidia, who wishes to use the name for an upcoming GPU generation, and on the other there’s Dish Network with its own line of Hopper satellite receivers.
Nvidia names all its GPU generations after famous scientists. For example, Pascal is named after French mathematician Blaise Pascal, and Ampere for fellow Frenchman André-Marie Ampère. To continue that trend, Nvidia is clearly looking to name its upcoming GPU generation after Grace Hopper, the US Navy Rear Admiral and famed computer scientist credited with pioneering work on programming languages.
Fun fact, she also found the first computer bug. Like, an actual bug: a moth stuck in a relay which was causing errors in her system.
Dish Network offers a line of products nicknamed Hopper for their kangaroo-inspired branding, such as the Hopper 3, Hopper with Sling, and Hopper Duo. There is also a co-line of products nicknamed Joey.
Fundamentally different namesakes then, but that might not count for much in the world of trademark disputes.
The thrust of the issue, as noted by our sister site Tom’s Hardware in its report, is that Dish Network holds a patent, registered on June 5, 2012, for the characters “Hopper” in no particular font, style, size, or colour. The trademark is namely for products related to digital receivers and audio devices. It also holds similar trademarks for the word Hopper alongside a tiny kangaroo, and Hopper Duo, and Hoppergo.
Dish Network believes there could be some confusion on the customer’s behalf if Nvidia were to proceed with its naming of its next-gen GPUs Hopper, and that customers may even mistake both products—GPU and satellite receiver—to originate from the same company. Goodness gracious.
My hamster is also named Hopper, after Grace Hopper, and I think she deserves the trademark just as much as either company. She doesn’t know how to spell her own name, however. (Image credit: PC Gamer)
Nvidia first filed the Nvidia Hopper patent way back in 2019, though in 2020 it was returned to Nvidia by a trademark examining attorney with multiple issues, including the likelihood of confusion with existing Hopper trademarks.
The dispute then continued for the entirety of 2021, with multiple motions to suspend the proceedings granted, presumably as the companies try to come to some sort of agreement.
That grace period, without any further extensions, will end on February 22, 2022. If no further action is taken, the case will reopen. Though it’s likely another extension or settlement will come before then. At some point, Nvidia will want to actually release the so far unannounced Hopper lineup of products, and it’ll need to clear things up with Dish Network before then.