Cologne, 7th of April, 2010: The Format Recognition and Protection Association (FRAPA) and WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO Center) are to join forces later this month in providing alternative dispute resolution services to address problems of format plagiarism or the unauthorized copying of television (TV) formats, such as those used for game, reality or talent shows and sitcoms. Programs using these formats are often remade in different markets using local parties.
While the format industry is flourishing and the trade in TV formats is growing, the industry is characterized by fierce competition and frequent disputes. These disputes often relate to the unauthorized use of formats owned by third parties and can be difficult to resolve in court because of differences in relevant national laws in this area.
Under the new collaboration, the WIPO Center will take on FRAPA’s existing mediation activity and will administer TV format-related disputes filed under the WIPO Mediation and Expedited Arbitration Rules for Film and Media.
Launched in December 2009, these Rules are tailored to the specific characteristics of disputes arising in the film and media sectors. They foresee appointment of a specialist from a dedicated international WIPO Panel of film and media mediators, arbitrators and experts. The WIPO Center and FRAPA also envisage providing specialized training and information sessions on format dispute resolution.
According to Ute Biernat, Chairman of FRAPA, “Delays, costs and burdens of litigation can be damaging. This is why alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation and arbitration, can help format owners, producers and broadcasters resolve their disputes out of court in a more flexible, confidential and efficient way that can also preserve their business relationships”.
Erik Wilbers, Director of the WIPO Center, said: “The WIPO Center is pleased to apply its dispute resolution expertise to the format sector. ADR offers interesting benefits for parties involved in format and other creative disputes. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with FRAPA and its members”.
FRAPA is the international format industry association dedicated to the protection of formats. FRAPA aims to ensure that television formats are respected by the industry and protected by law as intellectual property.
The WIPO Center is a leading international provider of a range of procedural alternatives to court litigation. Alternative dispute resolution services, such as mediation and arbitration, are designed to save parties involved in commercial disputes both time and money.
The WIPO-FRAPA collaboration will be officially launched at FRAPA’s 10th anniversary event on April 11, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. at Plage Goéland in Cannes, France.