The Apollo Theater Foundation, parent of the syndicated Showtime at
the Apollo African-American variety show, is lashing out at competitor
Showtime in Harlem, accusing that show's owner and distributor of
trademark infringement and unfair competition.
The Apollo Theater Foundation alleged that Inner City Theater Group, the
producer of Showtime in Harlem, and Western International Syndication unfairly used Apollo trademarks in production of their show. The complaint was
filed Dec. 20 in U.S. District Court in New York, and it claimed that the Apollo
brand is being diluted.
Apollo Theater Foundation chairman Richard Parsons, chief executive of
AOL Time Warner Inc., said, "This is the right thing to do -- to protect its value
for the benefit of the community."
The Apollo Foundation claimed that it filed suit only after its written requests to
ICTG and Western went unanswered.
Percy E. Sutton, former head of Inner City Broadcasting, created, produced
and distributed Showtime at the Apollo for 15 years. But he lost the
rights when Heritage Networks outbid him for the 2002-2003 season. Showtime
in Harlem was quickly created as an alternative.
Now, Apollo is produced by de Passe Entertainment and distributed by