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Court Rules on Use of Emmy Trademark


The very popular Emmy is a trademark shared National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Before, these two entities were on under Television Academy of Arts & Sciences, this was in 1946. In the 1950’s they separated because of differences. New York Probate Lawyers say that around the 1977, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) and Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) entered in a settlement agreement to resolve differences in each group’s right with the use of the Emmy trademark and the related litigation.

NATAS got among other things the exclusive right to conduct one annual award and show per year for national daytime programming (TV shows from 2:00 am to 6:00 pm), national sports programming, national news and documentary programming. ATAS got the exclusive right for the award for night time TV shows (TV shows from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am). The agreement also provides that they will need each other’s consent before creating any new national awards, which shall not be unreasonably withheld. A Manhattan Probate Lawyer found out that the agreement is if the other party feels that the consent was reasonably withheld, then they can resort to an intercession.

NATAS announced that they would be starting to award new Emmys to recognize “new media”. The announcement was made November 2005. The “new media” included Broadband video programming broadcasted over the internet. ATAS was not asked for their consent before NATAS announced the new awards. They as well announced that they will be awarding Emmys in Drama, Comedy, Children’s and Variety for Daytime Broadband. Part of the revelation was a “My Space/ My Emmy” contest, which will be for advanced media awards like video games and other technologies. NATAS had denoted that it will be awarding all entertainment programming on broadband media regardless of the time it was distributed. The awards were scheduled to be given away in June.

ATAS filed a Demand for Arbitration with the American Arbitration Awards (AAA). What they were asking is for relief because of NATAS’ announcement of new awards, which they claim is a breach of their agreement.

A Queens Probate Lawyer found out that the panel established that NATAS had inappropriately exploited the Emmy in no less than four separate occasions. The panel ruled that NATAS should not promote or participate in the “My Space/ My Emmy” contest. NATAS is as well instructed to not award new Emmys that will infringe on the genres reserved to ATAS. This being drama, comedy variety shows, music, “long form” including mini-series, reality shows, children’s animation, made for television movies and non-fiction film making. Both ATAS and NATAS are ordered not to award any new Emmy for non-television devices. The panel also found that NATAS exploited Broadband by their announcement.

NATAS filed a petition for a temporary restraining order with its appeal to vacate the interim award, on December 20, 2007. They stated that the panel exceeded its powers by deciding on issues that were not submitted to them. The court of appeals decided that for the un-finalized interim awards, there are no grounds for dismissal. As for the panel going on more than their authority, it is the court’s decision that this is baseless. The court then ordered that injunction to vacate the Interim is denied. The court granted the confirmation of the arbitration.

A case like this is always high profile because it is the media that is involved, and everything is well publicized. Sometimes publicity causes people to lose focus on what must be done. Their goal and task are always with them and what they work for.

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, we have a skilled legal team who will take care of your concerns when it comes to agreements and contracts. We do not require media scrutiny to do our best. If you have an agreement or a contract with someone that you feel have been breached, or you are involved in an estate litigation matter or will contest, you can go in any of our offices, contact us online or call 1-800 NY – NY- LAW for a consultation. We handle cases from New York and Long Island.

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