Radio Channel Networks, Inc. v. Broadcast.com, Inc., 1999 WL 124455, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2577 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 8, 1999), aff'd, 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 30058 (2d Cir. Nov. 17, 1999).
Factual Background Edit
Plaintiff operated a website at “www.radiochannel.com,” where it provided a directory of radio stations and information on products advertised on the radio stations. Defendant operated a site at “www.broadcast.com,” where it provided streaming-media programming, including live television, radio, and sports broadcasts. Defendant implemented a new design, organizing its website into categories labeled as “channels,” such as “Business Channel,” “Shopping Channel,” “Television Channel,” and “Video Channel.”
Trial Court Proceedings Edit
When it began using “Radio Channel,” plaintiff sued for trademark infringement and unfair competition, and sought a preliminary injunction. Defendant moved for summary judgment on its fair-use defense, arguing that it used the term “Radio Channel” in a descriptive sense. The court agreed, finding that the term “channel” characterized defendant’s service, particularly with regard to the channeling of streaming programming through its website.
The court also noted that Internet websites were commonly organized into different “channels” and cited America Online, Netscape, and the Microsoft Network as examples of websites using some form of channel format. The court found that defendant also used the term “Radio Channel” as part of a broader channel format. Finally, the court found that defendant used the term “Radio Channel” in good faith. The court thus granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment and denied plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.
Appellate Court Proceedings Edit
The decision was summarily affirmed by the Second Circuit.
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