Porn co's 'FyreTV' trademark case against Amazon revived by appeals court

2 minute read

The new Amazon Fire TV is displayed during a media event introducing new Amazon products in San Francisco, California September 16, 2015. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
  • Amazon's Fire TV could cause confusion with FyreTV porn-streaming service
  • Appeals court sent case back for a trial

(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc must face trial on a Florida pornography provider's claims that Amazon's Fire TV streaming device violates Wreal LLC's trademark rights in the name FyreTV, a U.S. appeals court said Tuesday.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a jury could find that Amazon's product was likely to cause consumer confusion with Wreal's porn-streaming service, and that a Miami federal judge should not have ruled for Amazon before a jury could hear the case.

Amazon declined to comment. An attorney for Wreal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Miami-based Wreal launched FyreTV in 2007, which it calls the "Netflix of porn." It later launched a set-top box called the FyreBoXXX. Wreal sued Amazon in 2014, shortly after the tech giant launched Fire TV.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard ruled for Amazon in 2019, and said no reasonable jury could find that Amazon was likely to cause confusion. But the appeals court said Tuesday that a jury could potentially rule for Wreal.

A unanimous three-judge panel noted that the products' names were nearly identical, there was evidence that Amazon had purposely flooded the market with its trademark to drown Wreal's out, and a reasonable consumer could think that Amazon had expanded into Wreal's field of streaming hardcore pornography.

The appeals court also said Lenard erred by treating the case as a normal trademark-infringement dispute, where a smaller user trades on the fame of an existing trademark. Instead it was a "reverse confusion" case, which requires a different analysis, the appeals court said.

The 11th Circuit sent the case back to the Miami court for trial.

The case is Wreal LLC v. Amazon.com Inc, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 19-13285.

For Wreal: Carlos Nuñez-Vivas of WNF Law

For Amazon: Moez Kaba and Robert Klieger of Hueston Hennigan

Read more:

11th Circuit denies porn company's bid for injunction against Amazon

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com