United States: Fox Team Prevails In ITC Matter Involving Major Television Network
Last Updated: March 3 2014

A team of attorneys from the Entertainment and Intellectual Property Departments of Fox Rothschild LLP, led by Partners Jody Simon and Jeffrey S. Kravitz and Associates Jacqueline Lechtholz-Zey and Benjamin E. Maskell, successfully defended a Canadian production company, Thunderbird Films, Inc., in a case brought before the International Trade Commission (ITC) regarding the originality of a broadcast television program and allegedly unfair methods of competition.

The show in question, Mr. Young, was originally produced and aired in Canada and then licensed and aired nationally in the United States on Disney XD. One of the complainants in the case claimed that he created a television program and then saw his ideas come to life onscreen without his consent or any type of royalty payment. The complainant alleged he had delivered his script to an agent who worked at the same agency that represented the creator of Thunderbird's show.

The complainants previously brought an action in the Central District of California, alleging substantially the same claims.  They voluntarily withdrew their complaint on the same day that the Fox team and other defendants filed their motions to dismiss, and subsequently brought the action before the ITC.

After an eight-month proceeding in the ITC, the Fox team prevailed in a motion for summary determination that the idea for the show in question was independently created and that the creator of our client's show had developed the idea well before the complainant submitted his script for review. The Fox team also demonstrated that there was no substantial similarity in any of the main elements of program.  Based on Fox's successful motion for summary determination, the Administrative Law Judge found that the complainants could not prove their claim of unfair methods of competition, and dismissed the Investigation in its entirety.

Simon has more than 25 years of experience helping clients in the industry produce innovative and sophisticated television and new media. He has established himself as one of the entertainment industry's go-to lawyers. He actively counsels his clients in nearly every type of legal matter spanning the spectrum of the entertainment industry: television (including a special focus on reality television and Canadian and international co-productions), digital media outlets, publishing, live stage, live action and animated programming and graphic novels.

Kravitz, named as one of the leading intellectual property, trademark, copyright and trade secrets attorneys in California by Chambers USA, focuses his practice on business and intellectual property, entertainment and technology disputes. In his practice spanning more than 30 years, he has tried more than 25 cases to verdict or judgment. Kravitz serves as co-chair of the firm's Media, Defamation and Privacy Law practice, and his entertainment practice includes representation of a wide variety of clients, including production companies, studios and individuals. 

Lechtholz-Zey concentrates her practice on a variety of entertainment and fashion clients in both litigation and transactional matters. She litigates in federal and state courts over trademark and copyright infringement, breach of contract and other commercial disputes. 

Maskell has represented a wide range of clients in patent and trademark litigation matters ranging from Fortune 100 companies to three-man startups in the federal district courts and the International Trade Commission.

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