August 22, 2012 7:54am PT by Eriq Gardner
Barry Diller Sues Over BarryDriller.com (Exclusive)
The major broadcast networks aren't the only ones suing Alki David over BarryDriller.com, a new digital distributor of TV stations.
Now, media mogul Barry Diller himself has filed a lawsuit against the company and David for violating his publicity rights and implying a false endorsement.
Diller filed the lawsuit Tuesday in California federal court, saying he is one of the most well-known business leaders in the United States and takes credit for being involved with Aereo, the startup that successfully fought a preliminary injunction that the broadcasters had sought.
Now the IAC chairman says that David is using his name and personality to prop up a competitor.
"Seeking to unfairly capitalize on the success of the new business venture supported by Plaintiff, Defendants devised a scheme to launch what they characterize as a competing business called 'BarryDriller.com,' " says the complaint. "Defendants are using Plaintiff's name in their 'BarryDriller.com' business to (1) associate their service with Plaintiff and (2) mislead the public into believing that Defendants' service has been judicially sanctioned."
Diller goes on to allege that David's company is designed to "confuse and divert" consumers from Aereo. Ironically, broadcasters are making the case that Aereo itself diverts consumers from pay TV services.
Besides claiming violations of the publicity rights and the Lanham Act over an alleged "unauthorized and intentional attempt to free-ride off the valuable goodwill developed by Plaintiff over the course of his long and successful business career," Diller says that BarryDriller.com violates cybersquatting laws by using a "confusingly similar variant" of his name.
He's seeking injunctive relief and punitive damages. Diller is represented by Robert Platt at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.
"Sounds like a publicity stunt," David told The Hollywood Reporter. "I personally look forward to meeting Mr. Diller in the near future and strategizing."