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COBALT successfully represents Latvian Television in a unique copyright and competition dispute with All Media Latvia regarding TV format

2020-07-03

On 30 June 2020, the Latvian Supreme Court upheld a decision which had dismissed the claim by All Media Latvia (previously Latvijas Neatkarīgā Televīzija) against Latvian Television (public broadcaster). The claimant alleged a breach of the copyright and unfair competition, and claimed damages. Supreme Court’s ruling is final.

Latvijas Neatkarīgā Televīzija claimed that Latvian Television’s morning show Rīta Panorāma imitates the format of the morning show 900 sekundes, in breach of the Copyright Act and Competition Act.   

It is the first case in Latvia in which the Supreme Court has discussed TV format as a property of its creator. The Supreme Court explained that, in principle, a TV format may be protected, but no one has the right to monopolize an entire class of television programmes (genre). Having recognised that the prohibition of unfair competition is actionable in a dispute over a TV format, the court listed the criteria of an infringement and agreed that in the case at hand they have not been fulfilled. 

Latvian Television was advised and represented by COBALT’s Senior Associate Linda Bīriņa and Associate Ivo Maskalāns.