Codename Enterprises, which operates Tumblr-like website Buzzr.com, filed a lawsuit against FremantleMedia North America alleging trademark infringement, false advertising, trademark dilution and unfair competition. Codename is seeking an injunction to force FremantleMedia to stop using “Buzzr,” as well as unspecified monetary damages.
A rep for FremantleMedia North America declined to comment.
“The significance of defendant’s ‘Buzzr’ television network to the destruction of plaintiff’s trademark rights and indeed potentially its entire business cannot be overstated because of the extraordinary programming attractiveness of defendant’s offerings,” Codename Enterprises said in the complaint, filed Feb. 18 in U.S. District Court in New York.
Codename Enterprises claims that it has done business since 2009 as “Buzzr.” More than 100,000 websites have been built using its publishing software and blogging tools, according to the company.
FremantleMedia North America launched the Buzzr digital multicast television network in June 2015, available on 12 Fox-owned stations including New York, L.A. and Philadelphia. The 24-hour linear network is stocked with episodes of old game shows including “Family Feud,” “Let’s Make a Deal,” “What’s My Line,” “To Tell the Truth,” “Super Password” and “Card Sharks.” FMNA’s Buzzr brand also includes a YouTube channel with remakes of classic games shows.
In its lawsuit, Codename Enterprises complains that FMNA “regularly creates salacious, sexually themed programming on its YouTube Buzzr-branded channel,” arguing that such content associates the “Buzzr” brand with “sex, obscenity and crude sensibility.” The suit cites a video clip titled “Another word for slut – Password,” which has more than 4.5 million views, and a “Family Feud” segment that includes includes a contestant simulating masturbation to act out the “word of the day.”
According to Codename Enterprises, it contacted FremantleMedia North America on multiple occasions to demand that it stop using the “Buzzr” name, starting on March 9, 2015, but was rebuffed by FMNA lawyers.
In addition, in late 2014, FMNA caused YouTube to remove Buzzr’s YouTube channel, “BuzzrWebsites” – which had been in operation since 2011 – in order to direct traffic to its own YouTube channel, Codename Enterprises alleged.
Codename Enterprises is headed by CEO and co-founder Ed Sussman, formerly president of Mansueto Digital, where he ran FastCompany.com and Inc.com. The company is being represented in the matter by Archer & Greiner attorney Ronald D. Coleman. The case is docket no. 1:16-cv-01267 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.