By Mark Engstrom, J.D.
In a dispute over the trademark “FyreTV,” a federal district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that porn purveyor Wreal LLC failed to show, in its motion for a preliminary injunction, that it would suffer “imminent” irreparable harm from Amazon.com’s use of the name “Fire TV” for a streaming-video device, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta has ruled. Because Wreal did not explain its five-month delay in seeking preliminary relief, and because the right to a preliminary injunction was premised on the need for a speedy and urgent action to protect a plaintiff’s rights while a merits review was pending, the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction was affirmed (Wreal, LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc., October 28, 2016, Rosenbaum, R.).
Wreal LLC filed an interlocutory appeal from the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction in a reverse-confusion dispute over Wreal’s “FyreTV” mark. The district court denied preliminary relief because Wreal’s unexplained five-month delay in seeking preliminary relief fatally undermined any showing of an irreparable injury.
The Eleventh Circuit noted that a delay of even a few months militated against a finding of irreparable harm because preliminary injunctions required a showing of “imminent” irreparable harm. Moreover, Wreal failed to proffer any explanation for its five-month delay, and the appellate court could not discern any explanation that would indicate that the district court had erred in finding a lack of imminent irreparable harm.
Ultimately, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that Wreal had failed to show an imminent injury that would warrant the extraordinary and drastic remedy of a preliminary injunction. Because Wreal could not establish reversible error on the “irreparable injury” prong of the preliminary injunction analysis, the appellate court declined to consider the remaining three prongs (the likelihood of success on the merits, the balance of harms, and the public interest).
The case is No. 15-14390.
Attorneys: Daniel Foodman (WNF Law, PL) for Wreal, LLC. Justin A. Nelson (Susman Godfrey, LLP) and Jamie Zysk Isani (Hunton & Williams, LLP) for Amazon.com, Inc.
Companies: Wreal, LLC; Amazon.com, Inc.
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