In a surprising turn of events, Chinese smart glasses company Nreal is rumored to be undergoing a significant rebranding, potentially changing its name to Xreal. This development comes as a result of a prolonged legal battle with gaming giant Epic Games, centered around the use of similarly titled services. While Nreal has not yet made an official statement regarding the rebranding, various clues have emerged, leading industry analysts to anticipate a significant announcement in the near future.
The speculations regarding the rebranding originate from multiple sources, which also hint at the introduction of a new product. In April, Nreal filed a patent for an intriguing device called the “Xreal Beam,” which is believed to be a successor to their previous Nreal Streaming Box. Notably, the patent request to the Federal Communications Commission showcases a consistent visual style and font used in Nreal’s branded hardware. In addition, Amazon Germany listings have revealed an “Xreal Air Adapter,” possibly an upgraded version of Nreal’s popular Apple Adapter that sold out within 24 hours upon release last year.
To understand the context behind Nreal’s potential rebranding, we must delve into the longstanding dispute between Nreal and Epic Games that dates back to 2018. The conflict arose when Nreal, a Chinese augmented reality (AR) hardware company, found itself entangled in a legal battle with Epic Games, the parent company of the renowned RT3D engine, Unreal. Nreal argued that the trademarks ‘Nreal’ and ‘Unreal’ bore visual similarities and had the potential to cause confusion among consumers, given that both entities collaborated with similar technology partners. This legal clash led to a multi-year struggle over the right to use the word ‘Real’ in relation to AR products.
Initially, the claim that “Nreal” and “Unreal” could be confused may have seemed far-fetched, considering the distinct technology markets and client bases of the two companies. Nreal primarily focused on immersive solutions, while Unreal concentrated on gaming services at the time. However, in recent years, Epic Games heavily promoted the Unreal Engine as a tool for creating and distributing immersive content, lending weight to the argument put forth by both parties.
Nreal’s parent company, Hangzhou Tairuo Technology (HTT), vigorously contested Epic’s allegations, asserting that their trademarks and logos were sufficiently distinctive and different. HTT argued that their shared partners were knowledgeable enough to discern the dissimilarities between the two entities. Concerns were raised about the potential obstacles Nreal could face when attempting to penetrate Western markets due to Epic Games’ lawsuit. However, Nreal successfully introduced its smart glasses solution in the European Union and the United States markets last year.
In 2019, Nreal and Epic Games agreed to engage in a 60-day negotiation period to seek a resolution. Yet, in January 2022, reports emerged that Nreal had countersued Epic Games, requesting reimbursement for its court fees. While Nreal has not confirmed whether the ongoing dispute with Epic Games is the driving force behind their rebranding campaign, it is evident that significant changes are underway for this prominent smart glasses company.
In conclusion, Nreal’s potential rebranding as Xreal signifies a notable shift in their corporate identity. The culmination of their legal battle with Epic Games and the introduction of new products like the Xreal Beam and Xreal Air Adapter demonstrate Nreal’s determination to make its mark in the AR market. As the anticipation builds, industry observers eagerly await an official announcement from Nreal, heralding the dawn of a new era for the company.
Picture source: Nreal