Barry Diller alleges that a site bearing a strong resemblance to his name could cause confusion in the marketplace about the Diller-backed service Aereo
Barry Diller has found himself in yet another legal entanglement over his involvement with Aereo — but this time he's the one initiating the proceedings.
Diller filed suit Tuesday against Alkiviades (a/k/a "Alki") David, founder of the website BarryDriller.com, claiming that the site is unfairly capitalizing on Aereo's success.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in central California Tuesday, notes that BarryDriller.com purports to offer an identical service to Aereo, which allows users to watch over-the-air television broadcasts on devices connected to the internet.
Combined with the fact that the site bears an almost-identical name as Diller — who's backing Aereo through his InterActiveCorp (IAC) — the suit alleges that BarryDriller.com is attempting to "associate their service with Plaintiff."
"The terms 'BarryDriller.com,' 'BarryDriller' and 'Barry Driller' are substantially similar to Plaintiff's name, 'Barry Diller,' and are therefore likely to mislead consumers into believing that there is an association between Plaintiff and 'BarryDriller.com' when in fact there is not," the lawsuit reads.
Alleging false designation of origin, violation of the right of publicity and cybersquatting, the suit is seeking a permanent injunction against David using BarryDriller.com and similar names, and for the domain name BarryDriller.com to be transferred to Diller. The suit also seeks unspecified compensatory, general, statutory and exemplary damages, plus interest, attorneys' fees and expenses.
Diller's Aereo has faced its own legal challenges, but has so far weathered them. The company, which launched its service in March, was sued by the major networks for copyright violations slightly before the launch, but a U.S. district judge in New York — which is currently Aereo's sole market — shot down the networks' effort to block the service from going forward.
In May, a judge partially shot down the networks' complaint, dismissing an unfair competition claim because it was a matter of federal, not state, law.
Aereo has filed a countersuit against the broadcasters.