LOS ANGELES—Earlier this month, we reported on the confusion some people would experience if they tried to access Amazon's new streaming service, called FireTV, by visiting FireTV.com, only to wind up being automatically redirected to FyreTV.com, a video-on-demand porn site. Fyre, which is operated by Miami, Florida-based Wreal LLC and began operation in 2008, had acquired the FireTV URL in order to catch any misspelled attempts to reach it.
In the aftermath of the rollout of FireTV, however, the folks at Wreal are none too happy with the fact that Amazon trespassed on its domain territory, and last week they filed suit in federal court in Miami, accusing Amazon of infringing on their marks "knowingly, deliberately, and willfully."
The company's basic contention is that Amazon's use of FireTV has already and will continue to sow confusion in the marketplace to Wreal's detriment by leading "consumers to incorrectly conclude that WREAL's on-line streaming services or STB (set-top box) originate from or somehow have become connected with Amazon, which will damage both WREAL and the public."
The complaint includes three Twitter posts from consumers that indicate the confusion allaged in the complaint. In one, an individual sends a tweet to the FyreTV Twitter account asking, "Did you guys just merge with Amazon?"
The complaint also alleges that Amazon's lawyers should have been aware of the existence of Wreal's trademarks for FyreTV and FyreTV.com, and insinuates that Amazon was well aware of the fact that Wreal already owned and operated FireTV.com. That conclusion is reached by looking at Amazon's history of acquiring relevant domains for its products.
"In the past," reads the complaint, "Amazon has registered the domain names of its major products. For example, the domain name kindlefire.com redirects to the product page for Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet. Likewise, kindle.com redirects to the product page for Amazon's Kindle e-reader, and kindlepaperwhite.com redirects to the product page for Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite.
"Assuming that Amazon kept with its past practice," it continues, "it would have attempted to register the domain name firetv.com, only to learn that the domain name was already in use by WREAL in order to market its FyreTV® product. Indeed, as mentioned above, on or about April 1, 2014, one of Amazon's subsidiaries registered the domain name amazonfiretv.com. This evidences that Amazon did indeed attempt to register the firetv.com domain name, and when unable to do so, chose to register a similar domain name containing the Amazon house mark alongside its illegally named Fire TV product."
As far as market confusion goes, Wreal states that despite the fact that FireTV.com is a VOD site offering adult fare, "WREAL has no intention of limiting the FyreTV® brand to adult content. Indeed, the underlying technology that powers FyreTV® is a flexible and scalable platform capable of delivering content to a wide variety of internet media streaming devices. In that regard, WREAL has plans to use the FyreTV® brand to expand its content."
The lawsuit, filed by attorney Carlos Nunez-Vivas for Miami-based Waserstein Nunez & Foodman, accuses Amazon of violating the federal Lanham Act, citing trademark infringement and false designation of origin, as well as violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Florida Common Law Trademark Infringement; and Florida Common Law Unfair Competition.
The lawsuit asks the court to preliminarily and permanently enjoin Amazon from "infringing upon WREAL's trademark rights by using the names Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV, the website amazonfiretv.com, and any other derivation of the Fire TV name that would likely cause consumer confusion," and also to order "Amazon to pay WREAL the profits that it earned by its illegal use of the Fire TV name," and also "to pay WREAL its damages, compensatory and statutory, caused by Amazon's trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition," in addition to costs and attorneys' and experts' fees.
The complaint can be accessed here.