New Jersey residents who have purchased items from Amazon may be familiar with the company’s use of the word ‘fire” in many of its house brand products. The Kindle Fire tablet that was released in 2011 was the first product to contain the word ‘fire” in its name. Since then, Amazon has sold other ‘fire” products including the Amazon Fire TV, a set-top box that was released in April 2014.
After Amazon released its STB, a maker of other STBs with similar names sued Amazon for trademark infringement and unfair competition. The plaintiff in the trademark law claim is the owner of FyreTV.com, an adult content streaming website that sells the FyreTV Box and the FyreBoXXX to its customers. According to the plaintiff, the Amazon Fire TV is likely to cause customer confusion due to Amazon’s dominant position in the market.
The complaint was filed two weeks after the release of Amazon’s STB, and a petition for a preliminary injunction was filed five months later. The time that the plaintiff took to petition the court for a preliminary injunction ultimately resulted in Amazon’s victory in court. The court found that the slow pace of the plaintiff undermined the its claim that it was concerned about irreparable harm from the alleged trademark infringement.
In order to seek this type of equitable relief, a plaintiff must show that immediate and continued harm will result. An attorney who is familiar with trademark law and litigation will advise a client of the need to proceed expeditiously when seeking a preliminary injunction.
Source: The National Law Review, “Trademark Infringement: Amazon.com Does Not Have to Put Out the Fire,” Jodi Benassi, Nov. 29, 2016