Brand Spat: Court TV Threatens A&E

After A&E Television Networks announced plans to launch a channel in Australia called Crime & Investigation Network, Court TV threatened legal action against the rival programmer late Monday, claiming that A&E Networks is capitalizing on its brand.

Last year, Court TV began marketing itself as Court TV: The Investigation Channel.

Court TV doesn't operate in Australia, and A&E Networks has said that it has no immediate plans to launch Crime & Investigation Network in the United States, Court TV's home turf. But Court TV is still miffed about A&E Networks' international expansion with a network in the crime-programming genre.

"While we recognize that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we are displeased that A&E would want to capitalize on our brand name, Court TV: the Investigation Channel, rather than demonstrating originality in creating a name of its own. We look forward either to A&E reconsidering its choice of a brand name or to seeing them in court … on Court TV," Court TV said in a prepared statement late Monday.

An A&E spokeswoman said she had not yet seen Court TV's statement.

A&E Networks announced earlier Monday that it cut a deal with News Corp.’s Foxtel cable and satellite platform in Australia to launch a new channel, Crime & Investigation Network.

A&E Networks said it will license the network brand and supply programming to Foxtel, which plans to launch the channel Jan. 1. Foxtel will own and manage the channel.

Crime & Investigation will replace G4techTV on Foxtel.

Foxtel will run A&E Networks-produced crime shows such as Investigative Reports and Cold Case Files, and Foxtel will add its own content, a spokeswoman said.