Eyeworks wins Celebrity Splash legal battle against Banijay

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 15-11-2013

A Dutch court ruled yesterday in favour of prodco Eyeworks in its infringement legal battle with Banijay, regarding the Celebrity Splash format, and rejected all claims made by Banijay.

Banijay's claims were related to a potential infringement of its sports event programme TV Total Turmspringen.

The court ruling, based on current EU legislation, applies not only to the Netherlands, where the case was presented, but also the entire European Union, where Banijay attempted to extend the claim.

The ruling establishes that Celebrity Splash does not, in any way, infringe upon any of Banijay's rights as it has claimed.

The court stated that while both programmes are based on a celebrity diving theme the "elaboration and design" of this idea are "very different" in both programmes, leading to the conclusion that there is no infringement on Banijay's rights.

Eyeworks said that the judgment confirms the fact that "the current new show Banijay has been marketing and selling (Stars in Danger: High Diving) is a different format than TV Total Turmspringen".
Jeff Goldman, MD Eyeworks Distribution, commented: "From our perspective, it was always clear that not only was Celebrity Splash an original, unique entertainment format but that in turn Banijay simply capitalised on our success by copying the overall look and feel, as well as several key elements, of our format."

Also, believing that Banijay's legal battle has undermined Eyeworks' ability to fully exploit Celebrity Splash, and has "created confusion in the marketplace", Eyeworks is now considering pursuing further legal action against Banijay for damages.

In the meantime, the company will continue its exploitation of the Celebrity Splash format, which has been sold in 20 countries, airing in over 43, including the UK (ITV), France (TF1), Spain (Antena 3), the United States (ABC), China (Zhejiang), Finland (Nelonen), Argentina (Telefe), and Belgium (VTM).

Banijay has not yet decided upon any other legal action. Its own show has been licensed into 12 territories.