Amazon... the Trademark Troll? Amazon Claims the Word 'Fire' and is Sweeping the Web

dgstorm

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It seems like the legal team over at Amazon is taking advice from Apple. For years it's been easy to make fun of Apple for going after everyone under the sun who used the word Apple in their services/products. There was even an incident in 2012 where Apple sued a small online Polish grocery store for using the A.pl domain name. (We are at present unsure of how that eventually ended.) Now it seems that Amazon believes they own the word "Fire" just as surely as Apple owns "Apple."

Amazon just sent a domain takedown order to the fan-site FireTVNews.com, giving them 7 days to turn over the domain name to Amazon. Amazon's claim was that the name violated their Trademark on the word "Fire." Because the site was very small, the owner quickly complied and changed the site's name to AFTVNews.com. Here's a quote with his benign response,

I’ll admit, when I registered the domain, I knew there was a possibility that one day I would be contacted by Amazon’s trademark lawyers. I naively thought Amazon was nicer than your average mega corporation and registered the domain anyway. Lesson learned. It would have been nice if they gave me more than 7 days, or at least given me a way to contact them. Instead, I’m supposed to give them the domain release information through their standard ‘Contact Us’ form.

I’m just one guy with a small blog and a few loyal readers, so I wont be fighting their request. This website will continue, but under a different name and URL. I will post the new website information shortly. I hope everyone reading this will stick around and not get lost in the move.

While we completely understand Amazon wanting to protect their Trademarks, it seems a bit Draconian to go after tiny little fan-sites of their products. These type of sites might ink out a small profit from what they do, but for the most part, they are free advertising for Amazon.

It's a shame and ironic that Amazon is starting to behave like Apple, especially since Apple has toned down their overly litigious ways. In fact, it was only a couple of years ago that Apple sued Amazon (and lost) for using the name Appstore because Apple claimed it was too much like App Store.

What do you guys think of this situation?

Source: ArsTechnica
 
So... I can just pick a word and call it mine and start suing people for using it? Cool, what should I pick? Awesome? I am pretty awesome and all. Oh, how about "stuff". I could sue all those people that say ... and stuff"
 
Actually, I am going to play devil's advocate here and argue with my own story, but I am starting to see Amazon's perspective on this a bit more clearly. If you take a look at his site with its previous name, FireTVNews.com, the average consumer might mistake that as an official Amazon created or sponsored site.

Its colors and design look very much like an actual Amazon jump site, and the previous name was a bit ambiguous regarding differentiating itself from Amazon proper. I doubt that Amazon wanted to take down the site name because of the Trademark infringement, but they simply feel the need to protect their interests by not allowing something which could confuse people.

After-all, if they let it stick around and enough people assumed it was an official Amazon site, then they could be held accountable (from a PR perspective, not legally) for anything he might say on his blog.

I think they were probably a bit too brutally efficient about how they handled it, but sometimes the quick shot to the head is much easier to take than the slow death of dragging something out. What do you guys think?
 
I don't know. That's a pretty slippery slope we're on. Logo's that are registered I can understand. But just because something resembles something familiar? People should be responsible and pay attention to what they're buying and from who. If you get fooled because of something similar you'll be more careful next time.
 
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Eh, I think Amazon may have jumped the gun a little. Plus had that been me who was the site owner I would have change the name and on the front would have posted "BUY CHROMECAST or ROKU, they are a much better product and experience" .
 
Stuff like this drives me crazy. The word fire isn't new and has been used for so much its stupid. Why are they even able to trademark the word is even crazier.
 
Personally, I would not have folded. I don't see how Amazon has any claim on FireTVNews.
The way they went about it is horrifying. They could have approached a bit differently.
 
Its easy to armchair quarterback this debate. I think I would not give in either...but anyone who has ever HAD to go to court and had to retain a lawyer knows....that is expensive!!!! Amazon has a team of attorneys on payroll...the little website owner didn't stand a chance of holding up to them in a court battle. There is no way the "little guy" can stand up to the big dogs in court....it's just too expensive.
 
Its easy to armchair quarterback this debate. I think I would not give in either...but anyone who has ever HAD to go to court and had to retain a lawyer knows....that is expensive!!!! Amazon has a team of attorneys on payroll...the little website owner didn't stand a chance of holding up to them in a court battle. There is no way the "little guy" can stand up to the big dogs in court....it's just too expensive.
Sad but true.
 
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