Banijay Speaks Out on All Against 1 Legal Spat


PARIS: Banijay has issued a statement that it is “surprised and offended by and strongly repudiates” the legal allegations made against its format All Against 1.

The Israeli production company Abot Hameiri filed a claim alleging that the studio-based interactive game show All Against 1 is based on their format Are You Smarter Than The Crowd. It claims that the format was pitched to Banijay in 2014.

Banijay has responded to the claim: “All Against 1 is a very successful entertainment format created through a collaboration between Nordisk Film TV Denmark, Nordisk Film TV Norway and Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, a development of the Nordisk Film TV Norway format King of Chess. Banijay strongly defends its position with regards to All Against 1 and looks forward to defending itself in court against the current claims.

“Banijay is surprised that the claim by Abot Hameiri and Reshet TV has not been issued to the High Court (as incorrectly claimed by Abot Hameiri) but to the County Court. Banijay considers this to be indicative of the fact that there is a weakness in the claim and that Abot Hameiri is trying to prevent the case being heard by a specialist IP judge in the High Court.

“Although details of the claim appear to have been sent directly to members of the trade press, Abot Hameiri has failed to serve any Particulars of Claim on Banijay—all Banijay has is a Claim Form, which provides no details. However, the value of the claim has been estimated by Abot Hameiri as being £40,000 and Banijay would question whether this small amount indicates nothing more than a ‘nuisance claim.’ Banijay will be counter-claiming against Abot Hameiri for a declaration of non-infringement and damages for their attempt to damage Banijay’s format and current and potential sales.”

Banijay continued by saying that “There has never been a final decision of the English Courts upholding ‘format rights’ in television programs and Banijay does not expect this case to be the first, given the baseless and unsubstantiated allegations currently put forward.

“Banijay is very confident that this claim will fail and remains adamant that All Against 1 is different from the format now known as Best of All.

“In addition, the wisdom of the crowd theory has been known since 1906 and is not something Abot Hameiri has invented. There are a number of other derivative entertainment formats from all over the world available on the market using similar mechanisms but none using our unique structure.”

FremantleMedia, which owns Abot Hameiri, has responded: “We are surprised by Banijay’s reaction to the issue of proceedings against them, given that we have tried to engage them in discussions to resolve this dispute without the need for legal proceedings for several weeks before the claim was issued. Their refusal to engage left us with no option but to take this course of action. We stand by the assertion that that Alle Mod 1 is based on Abot Hameiri’s format Are You Smarter than the Crowd, which is a view shared by our expert legal team and for which there is documentary evidence. Banijay’s lawyers also appear have not read the claim form properly. The stamp over the seal on the claim form clearly says ‘Chancery Chambers’, and that it has been issued in the ‘High Court of Justice’. The reference number for the claim starts with ‘HC’ denoting that it is a High Court claim. The claim has been issued in the Chancery Division of the High Court of London; not the County Court.

“We are not at all concerned about a possible counterclaim which we are confident will fail, especially as Banijay has still to produce any evidence that their program is original.”