FremantleMedia-owned prodco Abot Hameiri has formally filed claim against Banijay Group, seeking £42,500 (US$53,000) for breach of confidence and copyright infringement.
The claim, filed Nov. 7 in the High Court in London, England, relates to Banijay’s studio-based interactive game show, All Against 1, which Abot alleges is based on their format Are You Smarter Than The Crowd, which, according to the reps for the Israeli prodco, was first pitched to Banijay in 2014.
Jonathan Coad, lawyer for Abot Hameiri, told realscreen in an email exchange that the £40,000 figure identified in the claim form is the estimated net profit to Banijay Nordisk for the sale of All Against 1 to Danish pubcaster DR1, which aired the 60-minute format earlier this year and recently greenlit a second season.
Coad said the financial claim would escalate “accordingly” if more sales of the format take place.
A new local version of All Against 1, which is jointly owned by Nordisk Film TV Denmark, Nordisk Film TV Norway and Norwegian pubcaster NRK, has also been commissioned in Finland by Nelonen, and a 90-minute version is currently being developed for Norway’s public broadcaster NRK. Banijay is also in advanced negotiations with broadcaster Sat.1 to produce the format in Germany.
Banijay had no further comment on the case as of Monday. However, the company earlier released its own statement strongly denying Fremantle’s allegations. It claims that All Against 1 sprang from its King of Chess format, which was originally developed for TV2′s Format Lab in 2013. It was later presented to Norway’s public broadcaster NRK and aired in November 2014.
The format pits a single contestant against an entire nation, with the contestant asked the same questions as viewers at home, the answers for which are based on the outcome of a variety of unique and outlandish experiments, ranging from everyday science to crazy sports dares or spectacular stunts.
An email statement provided by Fremantle in support of the lawsuit alleges “many striking similarities” between the pitch materials Abot Hameiri provided and All Against 1. The company said attempts to resolve the issue to date have failed.
“Abot Hameiri’s main concern has always been to ensure that pitches, which are made in good faith by format creators on the basis that the material will only be used by the receiving party if a deal comes out of the pitch process can go ahead without fear that the confidential material disclosed during that process is misused,” the statement reads.