Dušan V. Popović
A television format may be defined as a TV programme concept that exhibits certain original traits. TV stations rely extensively on formats whose success has already been proven on foreign television markets. In this paper, the author analyzes whether television formats, as intellectual goods, are protected in Intellectual Property Law, defined broadly. The author concludes that certain elements of TV formats may enjoy copyright protection, while excluding such protection to the programme concept itself. The unpublished formats (i.e. formats which have not yet been produced), as well as technical instructions for format production, can undoubtedly be protected as business secrets. Once the format is produced, its creator may prevent the imitation by relying on unfair competition rules. However, since imitation is not prohibited per se, the rules against unfair competition will be violated only in case the imitation creates confusion or possibility of confusion on the market, or in case of slavish copying.
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