On the 17th of February 2016 TV channels Novy Kanal and 1+1 met at the Supreme Court of Ukraine concerning a dispute on copyright infringement of Novy Kanal’s TV format «Ревізор»/Revizor (The Auditor) in the 1+1 Channel’s show Inspector Freimut. The Court found in favour of Novy Kahal. It was the fourth judicial level of review for the trial.
Revizor is a successful TV show created by Novy Kanal, where a host inspects restaurants, cafes, hotels and other public services. The presenter was Olha Freimut.
In 2014 Novy’s TV host Olha Freimut moved to the Channel 1+1 and started the production of show Inspector Freimut, based on the same idea, scenario, host image and dramaturgical elements, with minor differences such as the usage of the white handkerchief instead of the white glove.
Novy Kanal accused 1+1 of IP infringement and won a lawsuit in a first-instance court: the Kyiv Commercial Court proved that it was an illegal use of copyrighted elements of Novy’s program. But then the Kyiv Commercial Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the Kyiv Commercial Court.
Kateryna Moroz, the head of Novy Kanal Law Department, explained: «Inspector Freimut used not only the idea of one of the most successful original formats of the Ukrainian television, but it copied much more. In law of many countries a notion of TV format is absent. TV format is a system of copyrighted elements (trademarks, design, script, etc). The objects of our dispute were audio-visual and literary works (script) that are defended by the copyright law. In our case, copycat of Novy channel’s work is obvious. Court expert, whose findings were not taken into account by the Kyiv Commercial Court of Appeal, described similarities of these two TV shows on seven pages. And those were the similarities in the elements that do belong to intellectual property. The expert said that there are some differences but they are so insignificant that without channel’s logo on a screen, it would be difficult for viewers to say whether it’s Revizor with Olha Freimut or Inspertor Freimut».
In November 2015 the High Economic Court of Ukraine considered Novy’s cassational appeal and has confirmed the rights infringement. It demanded 1+1 to stop broadcasting the show and to make the restitution. However 1+1 does not end the litigation and now the case transfered to the Supreme Court of Ukraine.
The case will be precedential in the territory and will affect the format market in Ukraine.
Ukrainian TV market actively works with TV formats. In past years Ukraine has localized top shows such as Star Academy, The Voice, The Wife Swap, X-factor, So You Think You Can Dance, The Bachelor, The Biggest Loser, From Ladette to a Lady, and many others. We also create local formats that are successfully export.
Novy is a national TV station oriented to young audience, featuring key projects such as Ukrainian Top Model, The Battle Of The Sexes, Identity, Girlfri3nds and others.