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An Aero v. Aereo Rumble as Companies Fight Over Silly Name

Tim Molloy
February 8, 2013
An Aero v. Aereo Rumble as Companies Fight Over Silly Name
An Aero v. Aereo Rumble as Companies Fight Over Silly Name

Internet TV site FilmOn says in a new lawsuit that rival Aereo is trying to confuse and steal its customers by using a name similar to that of its own awkwardly named product.

Billionaire Alki David's FilmOn claims that months before fellow billionaire Barry Diller's Aereo debuted in October 2011, it offered its own portable mini-TV antennae device with the irresistable name, "WinTV-Aero-m."

Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

To clarify, the suit isn't about which company has to use some variation on the name but rather which gets to use it.

This is only the latest lawsuit involving the companies: Both are also being sued by networks for offering consumers a way to capture their signals and watch their broadcasts online.

FilmOn is also seeking the court's OK for a partner to go ahead and keep calling itself Aereokiller. Alki also has an apparently inactive site called BarryDriller.com, which might -- just might -- also be an attempt to antagonize Diller, the former head of Paramount and Fox.

Why does anyone follow this stuff? Because last month, Aereo said it has raised $38 million and will expand to 22 U.S. cities, according to Reuters. And, again, because these guys are billionaires. (David, pictured, is also an actor who has appeared in films including "The Bank Job.")

Aereo spokesoman Virginia Lam said in a statement to TheWrap that FilmOn was suing in response to a request that Aereo sent last month asking David and AereoKiller to knock it off with that name.

"We believe that this lawsuit is not only baseless but frivolous and will respond to it, as appropriate," she said.

FilmOn filed the suit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this story.

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