Aereokiller, embroiled in litigation with the TV networks, is putting at least one legal dispute behind it. Founder Alki David agreed to stop calling his online video company Aereokiller, in order to settle a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by its Barry-Diller backed rival, Aereo.
Today, U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins in the Central District of California, issued a permanent injunction to that effect. The order, which both companies agreed to, prohibits David from using the name “Aereo” or “any other confusingly similar terms,” including Aero, Aero.tv and Aereokiller.
The injunction comes less than two months after Aereo sued David, arguing that his company's name was misleading. “Rather than compete fairly and properly in the marketplace, defendants have repeatedly sought to advance their business interest by associating themselves with Aereo,” the company alleged in its request for an injunction.
Of course, David's company still has bigger problems -- namely that it's not currently allowed to operate in California. Last year, the TV networks sued Aereokiller in federal court in California, where they argued that the company infringed copyright.
The company, like Aereo, offers paying subscribers the ability to stream over-the-air broadcast channels to iPads, iPhones and other devices. The services also offer DVR-like functionality by enabling users to “record” programs for later viewing.
The cord-cutting services say they are legal based on their technical design, which relies on thousands of tiny antennas to capture the over-the-air signals and stream them to users on a one-to-one basis.
But the TV networks don't agree. The networks are suing both startups for copyright infringement, arguing that they engage in a public performance by streaming the TV shows. Only content owners are allowed to publicly perform a work. Both Web video companies say that the streams are legal, private performances because they're made on an antenna-to-user basis.
In New York, Aereo won that argument. But in California, U.S. District Court Judge George Wu in the Central District of California issued an injunction banning David's company from moving forward. The startup has asked an appeals court to lift the injunction, but remains in limbo for now.