Satellite TV platform Freesat is suing Amazon for using the trademarked brand ‘Freetime’ on a streaming video service with the Kindle Fire tablet.
The British TV minnow will take on the internet giant at the High Court in London to decide who owns a trademark which was given to them both two years apart.
Freesat’s Freetime is a next-generation satellite and catch-up TV product launched in 2012, while Amazon’s Kindle FreeTime streams kids’ TV shows and hit the UK in late 2013.
Freesat said: “Freesat has issued a legal claim against Amazon EU SARL, Amazon Media EU SARL and amazon.co.uk Ltd in respect of Amazon’s infringement of our rights to Freetime, a trade mark registered in the UK by Freesat.
“Freetime is an award-winning internet-connected television service that is an increasingly important part of Freesat’s business. As this is a legal matter, we are unable to comment further.”
Freesat’s court filing claims it has spent more than £5.6 million promoting Freetime since it was trademarked for the UK in October 2011, and wants compensation for ‘loss and damage’.
Freesat’s trademark covers both ‘FREETIME’ and “FREE TIME’, although it launched as the typographically foul <free time> and was rebranded ‘freetime’ in September 2013.
The Freetime brand covers Freesat satellite receivers and TVs, as well as the on-screen experience, features such as catch-up TV and streaming video, and remote control apps for tablets and smartphones.
Amazon launched Kindle FreeTime in September 2012 in the USA and filed a European trademark for ‘KINDLE FREETIME’ in October 2012, which was granted in May 2013.
It covers the parental controls on Kindle Fire tablets and the Fire TV set-top box, which let people control what their children can watch and when.
The European trademark office gave Amazon a trademark in the same classes of product and service as Freesat’s existing registrations, including audio-visual reception apparatus, audio and video transmission and reception, tablet devices, and audio and video services.
Trademark name registrations deal in simple text, with the fonts and other styling used to present them irrelevant.
It looks like someone at the European Patents Office has handed a juicy earner to trademark lawyers in the UK while the case rattles on.
There’s no guarantee which way the judgement will fall when the UK’s elderly judges handle a tech dispute, as YouView found out last month.
Amazon’s also being sued by adult video streaming site Fyre TV over the rights to name its new Fire TV set-top box.