This week, rumours are swelling, indicating that Chinese smart glasses firm Nreal may rebrand, changing the company’s name to Xreal. The move follows a long-standing legal dispute with Epic Games, who took Nreal to court over the use of similarly titled services.
While Nreal has not yet made an official statement regarding a potential rebranding, many clues are leading industry analysts to believe that a significant name change announcement is coming.
The rumours originate from various sources which suggest that Nreal is also debuting a new product.
According to reports, in April, Nreal filed a patent for an “Xreal Beam” device. Nreal’s Federal Communications Commission patent request appears to be a successor to the Nreal Streaming Box. Moreover, the potential product uses the same font and house style as seen on Nreal branded hardware.
Furthermore, Amazon Germany listings display an “Xreal Air Adapter”, which could be a successor to Nreal’s Apple Adapter, which the firm released last year, selling out in 24 hours!
Nreal Vs. Epic Games: A Background
The story of Nreal’s potential rebranding starts back in 2018. In a pre-covid world, the Chinese AR hardware firm became embroiled in a legal dispute with Epic Games, the parent company of the RT3D engine Unreal.
The accusing firm argued that the trademarks ‘Nreal’ and ‘Unreal’ were visually similar and could create confusion as both parties work with the same technology partners. The move led to a multi-year legal battle for the right to use the word ‘Real’ regarding AR products.
At the time of its initial accusation, the argument that “Nreal” and “Unreal” are similar enough to create confusion among customers may have appeared as a stretch due to the firm’s differing technology markets and clients – with Nreal focusing on immersive solutions and Unreal developing gaming services at the time. However, in recent years, Epic Games has dramatically pushed the Unreal Engine as a tool for immersive content creation and distribution, giving the shared parties’ argument far more credence.
Nreal’s parent company, Hangzhou Tairuo Technology (HTT), battled Epic’s original filling arguing that trademarks and logos were “sufficiently distinctive and different.” In its counterpoints, HTT said that shared partners are “sophisticated” enough to notice the difference between the two groups.
At the time, concerns emerged highlighting how Epic Games’ lawsuit could create roadblocks for Nreal as the firm attempted to crack Western markets. However, the firm successfully debuted its smart glasses solution in the EU and US markets last year.
Epic and Nreal later agreed to enter a 60-day negotiation period in 2019. However, in January 2022, reports highlighted how Nreal filed a countersuit requesting Epic to pay Nreal’s court fees.
Nreal has not confirmed whether the long-standing Epic Games dispute is the source of the rebranding campaign, although it is clear that something is in the works for the leading smart glasses firm.