Spike battle heading to trial

5 justices stand by June 12 decision

NEW YORK — Make that David 3, Goliath 0.

Spike Lee parried another blow from Viacom Thursday when a New York State appeals court refused to stay an injunction preventing the conglom from renaming cabler TNN to Spike TV.

Five justices in the appellate division of the New York State Supreme Court stood by the decision handed down June 12 by State Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub.

Rebranded TNN was meant to have launched Monday but was stopped in its tracks. All promotional material now refers to channel under TNN handle. In court papers filed earlier this week, Viacom claimed that its first week’s losses alone would total nearly $17 million (Daily Variety, June 19).

A statement from Viacom read, “This case is far from over. We think today’s ruling perpetuates a flawed and perplexing decision with far-reaching First Amendment implications that go well beyond the significant financial damage our network has incurred. We intend to appeal vigorously and still expect to be vindicated ultimately. We firmly believe we have an absolute right to use the common word ‘spike’ as the name of our network.”

Viacom’s next step will be a meeting on Monday with Tolub to discuss a trial. Cabler will appeal his original preliminary injunction decision before a full panel in early September.