US-based entertainment companies TIYL Productions California Ltd and Ralph Edwards Productions have filed a suit against New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) and Zee Telefilms Ltd claiming that the TV serial ‘Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai’ is a derivative of their popular programme ‘This Is Your Life’.
Delhi High Court has issued notices to Zee Telefilms and NDTV and directed them to file their replies within 10 days. The next date of hearing is December 12.
The programme ‘This is Your Life’, one of the most popular programmes in the US, began on radio in 1948 and crossed over to TV in 1952. In the UK, it has been aired continuously for the last 47 years. On the other hand, Zee has already telecast 35 episodes of NDTV’s ‘Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai’.
The counsel for TIYL submitted that the company’s legal rights in the format of the TV programme and the trademark ‘This Is Your Life’, was violated by Zee and NDTV. He said the company’s ability to grant a licence for the production and broadcasting of its show had been injured due to Zee’s alleged unauthorised use of a similar format and title for its version of the show. As such, TIYL prayed for a grant of interim injunction. While senior counsel Rajiv Nayar appeared for NDTV, counsels Anurag Chawla and Surinder Singh appeared for TIYL.
NDTV and Zee Telefilms replied to the notice on May 11 and May 5, respectively, denying any similarity between the two shows. They contended that the similarities were merely incidental. TIYL, however alleged that both the shows focussed on the lives of celebrities and had a surprise guest entry. The similarities between the shows are likely to lead the public to mistakenly believe that the Hindi version has obtained a licence from TIYL, submitted Mr Singh.
The show and trade mark, ‘This Is Your Life’, have come to be associated exclusively with TIYL and its authorised licensees throughout the world by virtue of its continuous and widespread use coupled with enormous goodwill and reputation. As such, it was submitted that TIYL has the exclusive right to use, produce, reproduce, telecast, authorise the transmission of, advertise and promote their show and any derivatives of it across the globe including India.
According to TIYL it has recently found out that Zee Telefilms distributed its show, ‘Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai’, in the UK as well in the US over its Zee Network. In fact, Zee Network is available to 100 million viewers in 80 countries other than India.