An unusual alliance between the state government and a television news station has resulted in a U.S. District Court lawsuit by the partners.
The suit by KUTV and the Utah Department of Health names as defendants Wishnow Group Inc. of Marblehead, Mass., and its head, Jerry Wishnow. KUTV is a Salt Lake television station incorporated in Nevada.The action says that in November 1987, the Utah Department of Health awarded a contract to KUTV to develop a statewide "perinatal health education outreach campaign." Perinatal refers to the period just before and after the birth of a child.
The plaintiffs solicited financial support, information and "creative assistance" from a host of private groups, including at least one clinic, the suit says. KUTV invested $1.2 million "for which it received no reimbursement from the Department of Health," the suit adds.
The Department of Health estimates that it invested approximately $300,000 in the creation of the campaign, which was named, "Baby Your Baby."
KUTV and the department are preparing the program for use outside Utah, it says.
"Although plaintiffs do not anticipate a profit from the licensing of `Baby Your Baby' elsewhere, they believe that they will be able to recover their creative and financial investment in the program by charging interested parties a modest licensing fee."
But it says that in November 1988, the defendants, who own a health-care education program called "Beautiful Babies Right from the Start," accused KUTV of violating their rights in the "Beautiful Babies." Defendants threatened to sue, it says.
The suit charges that the defendants, who own a health-care education program called "Beautiful Babies Right from the Start," accused KUTV around the country of infringing and misappropriating the "Beautiful Babies" program. Defendants' threats, the suit alleges, caused KUTV "immediate and irreparable harm."
The suit claims that threats and accusations "are completely unfounded and were made to prevent KUTV and the Department of Health from promoting and licensing their 'Baby `Baby Your Baby' program outside Utah."
It alleged that defendants repeatedly said throughout the country that KUTV infringed and misappropriated the "Beautiful Babies Right from the Start" program.
"Defendants' threats, disparagement and interference constitute a real and present danger to plaintiffs' endeavors, to KUTV's service mark, and to the 'Baby Your Baby' program, causing them immediate and irreparable harm," it charges.
The suit asks for an injunction to prevent Wishnow from interfering with the plaintiffs' business.