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2 YEARS

MTV Sued for $30 Million for Allegedly Not Registering Logos in Latin America

MTV's licensees say they spent millions on branded clothing and luggage only to have the products seized by local authorities.

MTV Logo
Courtesy of MTV Networks

Does MTV have a "logo no-go" problem in Latin America?

Sam Panama Trading Co. has filed a $30 million lawsuit against the network and parent company Viacom alleging that it expected to make a ton of money selling clothing and luggage products featuring the MTV brand.

A licensing deal was signed with MTV Networks that allowed the company to offer products in 30 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, but then San Panama says it discovered that MTV and Viacom "never registered the licensed marks and logos in many of the territories licensed to plaintiffs under the agreement."

According to a complaint filed in New York federal court Wednesday and obtained by Courthouse News, San Panama and co-plaintiff Samoda International allegedly invested "many millions of dollars" producing and marketing the merchandise, only to run into a problem.

"They were seized by authorities as infringing upon the trademark, copyright and proprietary rights of third parties," says the lawsuit.

MTV and Viacom are now being sued for breach of contract. The distributors say they expected to reap more than $30 million in sales, but thanks to MTV's alleged failure to go the extra mile in protecting its logo and other marks, they say they have suffered damages to be proved at trial. The defendants, according to the lawsuit, "knew or should have known that third parties had or claimed to have the right to use the licensed marks and logos."

Viacom declined comment.

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner