Media giant sues over rights infringement

BERLIN — FremantleMedia is suing Switzerland’s 3 Plus Group and its 3 Plus TV Network for rights infringement, claiming a reality series that helps lonely farmers find romance is ripping off its own format.

U.K.-based Fremantle, a division of RTL Group, alleges that 3 Plus’ “Bauer, ledig, sucht” (Farmer, Single, Looking) is causing confusion with its “The Farmer Wants a Wife,” known in Germany as “Bauer sucht Frau.”

Tony Stern, exec VP commercial and business affairs, said Fremantle had held long and detailed formal discussions about “The Farmer Wants a Wife” with 3 Plus until the Swiss broadcaster ended negotiations and announced its “Bauer, ledig, sucht” shortly afterwards.

“We cannot let this go unchallenged,” Stern said.

Ironically, RTL Group’s leading German channel, RTL Television, has itself been known to find inspiration in hit Hollywood fare, producing — with varying degrees of success — strikingly similar skeins to “Lost” (“Verschollen”), “Nip/Tuck” (“Beauty Queen”), “Law & Order” (“Im Namen des Gestzes”) and others.

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