Virtual Compute Corporation in Houston, Texas, says it has seen a ‘drastic drop’ in revenue as a result of alleged infringement of its ‘vCompute’ trademark and common law trademark rights by Nvidia, which used the trademarked name for a new virtual GPU product launched last year.
A 17-year-old data center company in Texas is suing Nvidia over alleged infringement of a trademark that the company says has hurt its business.
Houston-based Virtual Compute Corp. filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, calling for a jury trial and accusing Nvidia of infringing a federally registered trademark, infringing common law trademarks and unfairly competing by using the company’s trademarks.
Nvidia declined to comment. Virtual Compute did not respond to a request for comment.
The federal trademark in question is “vCompute,” which Virtual Compute uses as its customer-facing name and was registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office in 2011. The company offers data center design and deployment services as well as access to private cloud computing under the vCompute name, according to its website.
To Virtual Compute, the problem is with Nvidia’s use of the vCompute term for a new product and similarities to Virtual Compute’s name in subsequent changes of the product’s branding, particularly because the two companies are competitors and offer the same service, according to the complaint.
This began last year when Nvidia introduced software called vComputeServer that allows organizations to run GPU-accelerated virtual machines for AI, high-performance computing and analytics workloads — which Virtual Compute said allowed Nvidia to outrank it in search results, despite having used the vCompute name for much longer.
In the lawsuit, Virtual Compute said a Google search for “vcompute” on June 6 returned results with an Nvidia page first, reading ”vCompute Server Nvidia,” and Virtual Compute’s website, which read “VCompute: Houston Data Centers,” second.
Virtual Compute said Nvidia notified the company in a July 17 correspondence that it would change the name of the product and refer to it as “virtual compute server” instead after Virtual Compute’s attorney informed Nvidia of the alleged trademark infringement.
However, Virtual Compute said that the change didn’t go far enough and that “virtual compute server” was still ”confusingly similar” to the company’s corporate name, which is protected under common law.
While Nvidia changed the name of the product web page twice since the attorney’s letter — first to “Virtual Compute Server (vComputeServer) Nvidia” and then to ”Virtual Compute Server (vCS) Nvidia,” according to the complaint — Virtual Compute said the name continues to cause confusion.
As a result, Virtual Compute said, the company has seen a “drastic drop” in revenue because the two companies use the internet as their main channel to advertise.
“Now, Defendant’s infringement has frozen VCC out,” the complaint said.
For relief, Virtual Compute is seeking the court to prohibit Nvidia from using any trademark or name that is likely to cause confusion with its trademarks or name and to force Nvidia to destroy any materials that use its trademarks or anything that is similar. The company is also seeking damages of an unspecified amount from Nvidia as well as pre- and post-judgement interest.