Space tourism is “the next frontier” for the travel industry, says founder of Spacebookings.com

spacebookingA Sydney-based entrepreneur is aiming for the stars with his new start-up, Spacebookings.com, and talks to ™Watch about how he envisions space tourism as “the next frontier in the travel sector”.

Ian Cumming is a prolific and well-regarded founder of several travel start-ups including TravellrGetFlight and Travel Massive, and planted the seeds for his new business by lodging a trade mark for the Spacebookings.com logo (pictured) in June this year.

“It isn’t just ‘space nerds’ who are interested in space tourism, as it may have been years ago, but it is now a reality and a vast mainstream audience awaits the chance to jet into the stratosphere – it’s not a question of if, but when,” he says.

Two advisers helping with the project are UK-based SkyScanner co-founder, Barry Smith, and US-based aviation and travel industry expert, Timothy O’Neil-Dunne, who was also a founding team member of Expedia.

Cumming works primarily at co-working space Fishburners in central Sydney with another start-up entrepreneur and fellow Spacebookings.com co-founder, Kevin Lippy.

“Kevin and I have an extensive background in online travel,” Cumming explains. “And together we are starting a service from scratch, in an industry that is at its very dawn – so we really need to work on building an audience, understanding them and then continuing to engage them as the industry grows.”

The project is self-funded so far, and Cumming confirms that “we’re less interested in funding than getting our strategy right”.

“Figures like Richard Branson, with Virgin Galactic, and Jeff Bezos, with Blue Origin, are forward-thinkers of our time who are already looking into the sky and making this a reality – and we share their vision.”

The Spacebookings.com website is currently a portal to join a mailing list, and the message on the site reads:

The exclusivity of space travel is so reserved that we think of it as being something only NASA astronauts and the elite and affluent can afford. However what you may not realize is that Space Travel will almost certainly reach a point where it is affordable for everyday private citizens, and we believe we will reach that point within the next decade.

The first aim for the website, Cumming says, is to be “the authoritative source for space tourism information”, with a proposed launch date of before the end of 2013.

“We have found it very difficult to find accurate and extensive information about space travel – not astronomy or space, but specifically space tourism,” he adds. “So we want to launch the site with extensive space tourism content, and then create and build a community around that.”

That community-building strategy is starting off well, with the Facebook page already at 1,600 followers.

spacebookings

Beyond that initial phase, a large-scale digital booking platform for the space tourism industry is in the works, although Cumming says “it isn’t about just jetting into space in a rocket”.

“You have to plan getting to the space ports around the globe, and then spending up to three-days training for the flight, so you’ll need somewhere to stay for that.

“Customers who book to go into space in the next five years are, let’s face it, very rich,” he adds. “They want a premium service to and from their front door, not just the time they spend above our planet.”

The plan isn’t for Spacebookings.com to be a separate entity from the broader online travel eco-system, but to ‘see how it can fit in with the bigger players like Expedia’.

“There is currently an online travel eco-system for all types of travel – from airlines and booking cars to hotels and excursions,” Cumming says. “One of our aims is to see how space tourism can plug into the current online tourism architecture.”

Ultimately, he concludes, the hope is that Spacebookings.com will be the leading space tourism platform when the inevitable growth happens – for example, Virgin Galactic announced this week that commercial space flights will begin next year.

“China and Russia are the high growth areas in online travel today, but space travel will be the high growth area of the future – and we want to be a big part of that when it happens.”

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Apple files for ‘Guest Mode’

applegApple has lodged an Australian trade mark application for the term ‘Guest Mode’.

Filed on September 20, the application was lodged by the Californian headquarters of Apple Inc and an Australian legal representative, Baker & McKenzie.

It covers a huge list of computing and electronic devices across Class 9 – from ‘mobile phones’ and ‘tablets’ to ‘dog whistles’ and ‘electrically heated socks’ (seriously). You can view the whole list here.

Apple has been criticised in the past for not allowing a ‘guest mode’ on its devices.

The tech giant also lodged a trade mark for the term in Europe last week, covering the same classes.

The trade mark application is at the status of ‘Taken For Examination’.

Click to view a screenshot of Apple’s ‘Guest Mode’ trade mark application.

Coles boasts it can offer “1 recipe, 3 different meals”

Coles_cmykAustralian supermarket chain Coles has lodged two trade marks in recent weeks, one for the phrase “1 recipe. 3 different meals” and another for “Feed your little family”.

The trademark application for “Feed your little family”  was lodged on 7 August and the “1 recipe. 3 different meals” trademark was lodged a week later, on August 13.

Both cover exactly the same media and retail classes, specifically:

Class 16: Printed publications; magazine; recipe books; bookbinding material; paper, cardboard and good made from these materials; bags of plastics or paper for packaging; packaging material of plastic or paper

Class 35: Wholesaling and retail services including wholesale and retail sale of food and groceries; retail services via groceries store, department store, discount store, specialty store, supermarkets, convenience stores; direct mail and on-line retailing services; advertising and promotion services; advertising and promotion provided by supermarkets and grocery stores including on-line promotions; advertising, sales promotion, and retail marketing services relating to food, condiments, sauces, spices, flavourings, seasonings and other food ingredients including provision of recipes, and dissemination of information relating to food, food preparation and food ingredients including condiments, sauces, spices, flavourings and seasonings

A Google search for both phrases brings up zero results related to Coles at the time of publication.

Both applications are at the status of ‘Indexing Approved’, meaning they have not been seen by an examiner yet.

Click to view a screenshot of Coles’ trade mark applications for “1 recipe. 3 different meals” and “Feed your little family“.

Yahoo! may be heading ‘On The Road’ Down Under

yahooroad_0Digital giant Yahoo! has given a strong hint that its popular Yahoo! On The Road music events, which have so far been organised around the US and Europe, may be heading to Australia.

On 26 July, the company lodged an Australian trade mark for the term ‘Yahoo! On The Road’, covering various live music event classes.

The events have flirted with Australian music in the past, with a recent May event in Dallas, Texas, featuring prominent Aussie music acts Empire Of The Sun and Gold Fields.

The Yahoo! On The Road events have attracted some notable acts, including fun., Kendrick Lamaar, John Legend and Fallout Boy.

The current schedule includes various US and European cities, but no Australian dates have been announced yet.

The classes covered by Yahoo!’s Australian trade mark reveal no surprises, specifically:

Class 35: Promoting the concerts of others

Class 41: Arranging and conducting of concerts; concert booking; entertainment, namely live music concerts

The trade mark was lodged by Yahoo! Inc and an Australian legal representative, Davies Collison Cave. It is at the status of ‘Taken For Examination’, meaning it is due to be seen by an examiner. 

Click to view a screenshot of Yahoo!’s ‘On The Road’ trade mark application.

Winter is punning: Southern Cross Austereo lodges for ‘Game Of Phones’

suterhcrossAustralian radio group Southern Cross Austereo has lodged an Australian trade mark for the term ‘Game Of Phones’.

The phone-related trade mark comes less than a year after the company was embroiled in a prank call controversy. Last December, SCA-owned Sydney station 2Day FM aired a prank call to a London hospital that was treating Kate Middleton. Less than a week later, nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who took the call, committed suicide.

The new ‘Game Of Phones’ trade mark, registered on 29 July, was lodged by Southern Cross Austereo and a legal representative, Holding Redlich.

It is lodged under Class 38, covering “broadcast of radio programmes” and “radio broadcasting”.

HBO already holds the registered Australian trade mark for ‘Game Of Thrones’, which was first lodged back in 2010. It, however, does not cover any specific radio classes, although some of the classes it does cover include “transmission or reproduction of sound or images” and “downloadable pre-recorded audio files”.

A Google search doesn’t appear to find any relevant Australian websites with a service or product called ‘Game Of Phones’. A couple more related searches (adding ‘radio‘ and ‘Southern Cross Austereo‘ to the term) also do not appear to bring up anything relevant.

The trade mark application is at the early status of ‘Indexing Approving’, meaning it has not been seen by an IP examiner yet.

Click to view a screenshot of Southern Cross Austereo’s ‘Game Of Phones’ trade mark application.

US video services Hulu and Vdio lodge Australian trade marks

Hulu1The range of streaming video services in Australia may be on the verge of increasing, if two newly-lodged local trade marks are anything to go by.

Massive US streaming service Hulu and Rdio video streaming offshoot Vdio both lodged trade mark applications in Australia on 18 July and 16 July respectively.

TV and movie streaming leader Netflix already holds an Australian trade mark for its logo, entering the register in October last year.

Whilst Vdio is broadly lodging its trade mark under digital and entertainment classes, Hulu is going the whole hog and lodging under various souvenir classes too.

A summary of the classes Hulu is filing for:

Class 9: Recordable and pre-recorded media; digital media, namely, streaming or downloadable audio-visual content in the fields of news, entertainment, sports, comedy, drama, music, and music videos; computer software, namely, downloadable players for audio-visual content

Class 16: Address books; appointment books; pens; binders; bookmarks; books; magazines, bumper stickers; calendars; stationery; gift cards; posters

Class 18:  All purpose sport bags; athletic bags; backpacks; umbrellas

Class 28: Action skill games; arcade games; board games; card games; balls; balloons; video games;

Class 35: Business-to-business advertising; online banner advertising and marketing services; online retail services featuring streaming or downloadable audio-visual content in the fields of news, entertainment, sports, comedy, drama, music, and music videos

Class 38: Broadcasting and streaming of audio-visual content in the fields of news, entertainment, sports, comedy, drama, music, and music videos via a global computer network; transmission of downloadable audio-visual content in the nature of full-length, partial-length, and clips from motion pictures, television programming, videos, music videos, and music; transmission of video and interactive games; podcasting and webcasting services

Class 41: Education and entertainment services, namely online services providing audio-visual content in the fields of news, entertainment, sports, comedy, drama, music, and music videos; providing interactive online games

Class 42: Computer services, namely, hosting a website featuring audio-visual content in the fields of news, entertainment, sports, comedy, drama, music, and music videos

Whereas Vdio’s classes are much more straightforward. A summary:

Class 9: Computer software for use in downloading and streaming audio and audiovisual materials via the Internet, mobile devices, wireless internet networks and other computer and electronic communication networks

Class 35: Retail store services in the field of entertainment featuring pre-recorded audiovisual works and related merchandise, provided via the Internet, mobile devices, wireless internet networks and other computer and electronic communication networks

Class 38: Streaming of audiovisual materials over the Internet, mobile devices, wireless internet networks and other computer and electronic communication networks; subscription television broadcasting via the Internet, mobile devices, wireless internet networks and other computer and electronic communication networks

Class 41: Providing a subscription based entertainment website featuring television programming and films

Class 42: Providing a website allowing users to download music and audiovisual materials; providing temporary use of online non-downloadable software that enables users to play and program music and entertainment-related materials

Hulu’s trade mark application was lodged by the Santa Monica office of ‘Hulu, LLC’ and a Sydney-based legal representative, Davies Collison Cave. The company holds another local trade mark for its name from 2008.

Vdio’s application was lodged by the San Francisco office of ‘Vdio, Inc’ and a Canberra-based legal representative, AJ Park. 

Both trade mark applications are at the early status of ‘Indexing Approved’.

Click to view a screenshot of the trade applications for Hulu and Vdio.

D-Link hints at Google Glass-like device

wearcamChinese networking and communications company D-Link has lodged an intriguing Australian trade mark for the term ‘Wearcam’.

The application is also for a logo (pictured), and covers classes for features including an ‘internet protocol camera’, ‘portable media players’, ‘personal digital assistants’, ‘mobile telephones’, ‘computer programs for editing images’ and ‘downloadable computer game programs’.

D-Link is best known for selling Wi-Fi products, such as wireless routers, and currently holds 33 per cent of that market. Other offerings include a cloud service, internet security and network cameras.

A search for “D-Link Wearcam” doesn’t appear to have any relevant results, and a search for ‘Wearcam’ on the D-Link website brings up zero results.

However, a search for ‘Wearcam’ links to various websites discussing wearable cameras and computers, with the top search – Wearcam.org – featuring an image and writing about Google Glass.

In fact, another website about Wearcam technology defines it as:

The WearCam invention is a particular variant of the “existential computer” invention which comprises the following entities: (1) one or more cameras that is/are attached to the body in some manner that permits both hands to be free (2) means of recording, processing, and transmitting images from the camera(s); processing means may be remote if facilitated through communications means (3) a display means that has the capability of presenting an image or stream of images from the camera, as well as other images (e.g. from the processor, or received from an external signal) and is also worn in a manner that permits both hands to be free.

The trade mark application for ‘Wearcam’ – TM number 1565938 – was lodged on July 1 by D-Link Corporation.

The classes covered on the application are specifically:

Class 9: Internet protocol cameras; digital cameras; cameras; internet cameras; computer cameras; set-top boxes; portable media players; personal digital assistants; closed-circuit television monitors; mp3 players; mobile telephones; video-telephones; internet phones; telematics apparatus, namely, wireless internet devices which provide telematics services and have a cellular phone function; computer network hubs, switches and routers; voice over internet protocol gateways; cordless telephones; cordless telephone base station; voice server; voice over internet protocol telephone adapter; computer software used in network communication; computer hardware, namely, firewalls; wireless television set for providing video conferencing and telephone service over the internet; telephone call routers; telephones; computer firmware for use in database management; computer servers; data processing equipment and computers; computer hardware and software for processing digital data and music files; computer operating programs; computer programs for editing images, sound and video; computer programs for using the internet and the world wide web; computer software and hardware for use in language localization, by means of language translation, subtitling, dubbing, closed captioning and teletext for feature films, television programs, videos and digital media; computer software and firmware for operating system programs; computer software for processing digital images; downloadable music files; downloadable computer game programs; downloadable electronic dictionaries; electronic game programs; electronic game software for cellular telephones 

The trade mark application is at the early status of ‘Indexing Approved’.

Click to view a screenshot of D-Link’s ‘Wearcam’ trade mark application.