Amazon to Get Experts' Identities in Fyre TV Trademark Battle

Dec 28, 2014 12:00 PM PST

MIAMI — Amazon Inc. has a right to know the identity of non-testifying experts in Fyre TV's trademark battle over the use of the name Fire TV, according to a ruling this week.

Fyre TV's parent, Wreal LLC, sued Amazon earlier this year for trademark infringement, claiming  FyreTV had been around years before Amazon debuted the set-top box Fire TV this April.

Fyre TV, initially launched as IPTV set-top box in 2008 by Guatemalan business entrepreneur Rodrigo Franco, offers 15,000-plus adult films from more than 100 studios on web and Roku, among other third-party set-top boxes. The company has a trademark and is registered for the “Fyre TV” mark for use in telecommunications via a set-top box.

Amazon's Fire TV, marketed primarily through Amazon.com, is "the easiest way to enjoy Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, low-cost movie rentals, and much more," the company said.

Counsel for the companies agreed to a protective order to guard over trade secrets, but Amazon wanted Fyre TV to reveal the identity of Wreal's non-testifying experts who are asked to view its confidential materials.

Fyre TV said that revealing names would be like giving away its litigation strategy.

"Amazon contends that this information, if made known to its competitors, would cause it substantial harm," U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman wrote in his decision siding with Amazon.

"By way of example, Amazon argues that the 'total sales' of its new streaming video set-top box and service would be valuable to a competitor making pricing and advertising decisions in the 'fast-moving business of capturing consumers for streaming video,'" he wrote.

"Because Amazon has demonstrated good cause for the requested provision, the undersigned will be entering a protective order containing the expert identification clause – albeit one with slightly compressed deadlines for objecting."

After the ruling, Amazon asked the court to seal the courtroom for portions of a preliminary injunction hearing on Tuesday. Both parties have submitted materials containing those that could be "described as pornography" and inappropriate for public display, Amazon said.

But the main reason to seal the court would be too squelch any possible dissemination of Amazon trade secrets relative to Fire TV and its marketing.

The infringement suit, filed in federal court in Miami, seeks damages, injunctive relief and attorneys fees.

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