mark of success

ac dope

mark of success

As the America’s Cup gears up for what should be an exciting and well-attended event in Newport at the end of the month, ACEA is about to find itself, once again, on the legal rocks.  Not from Charles Kithcart’s Africa Diaspora Maritime suit that’s scheduled for arguments on the 27th of June – this one is much bigger, and potentially far more damaging to the goals of the AC.

Advanced Video Communications Inc. (“AVC”) vs. America’s Cup Event Authority (C.D.Cal Case 2:12-cv-04961-JEM) argues that the America’s Cup has, and continues to, infringe AVC’s valid trademark “Liveline” filed in 2009, and their papers show a convincing argument that the AC’s extensive promotion of the term “Liveline” to promote Stan Honey’s TV/Video graphics package has damaged AVC’s interest in the mark.  They show that searches for the term result in links to almost exclusively AC content, and that essentially AVC’s trademark interest has been wrecked by the AC’s extensive use of the term in videos, press releases, news stories, and advertising.

While a quiet settlement is often the result of cases like this, AVC is asking for a hell of a lot from the Court:  $500,000 is just the starting point, since this kind of infringement carries with it a triple damages penalty and attorney’s fees.  AVC is also asking the court to order ACEA to remove every video and news story on the web that refers to Liveline in any way, and if the judge agrees that AC’s “Liveline” infringes AVC’s “Liveline”, this is quite a likely outcome.  Considering the effort and expense that AC has gone to to build all those Youtube hits, this could be a massive blow indeed.

Whether Honey’s technology is similar enough to AVC’s Liveline!, (which seems to be a webcam monitoring service) is going to be a big question, but given the fact that it was unquestionably registered with the USPTO long before Honey’s product and widely advertised on the web, it might not be that much of one, and the AC has some serious ‘splainin’ to do in the filing of their own Liveline trademark.  With AVC asking for a quick preliminary injunction to enforce their interest, this one’s going to burn hotter and faster than you might think.