Jeff Jarrett and Global Force Entertainment LLC (Global Force Wrestling) have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Anthem Sports & Entertainment (the owners of Impact Wrestling) in the United States District Court of Tennessee.
The 26-page lawsuit, which was filed on August 10, alleges that Anthem has violated state and federal trademark infringements in relation to Global Force Entertainment, violated Jeff Jarrett’s exclusive property rights to his name/photograph/likeness and that Anthem used a “reproduction counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation of the GLOBAL FORCE WRESTLING and GFW trademarks” promoting false advertising.
PWInsider provided additional details on the lawsuit including:
* Jarrett and GFW claiming violation of the Lanham Act citing “acts of unfair competition” that were done to “deceive the public into believing that goods and services offered or sold by Defendants are made by, approved by, sponsored by, or affiliated with GFE.”
* Claims that Anthem was involved in “Unfair Competition in Violation of Tennessee Common Law”, violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and continue to “compete for a common pool of customers” using the GFE likeness.
* “Defendants have violated and, upon information and belief, continue to violate GFE’s exclusive rights in the GFW Amped content and the 16 associated copyrights, including, but not limited to, the right to reproduce, right to prepare and sell derivative works, and right to vend by copying, publishing, distributing, and publicly displaying in the marketplace in this District, and in all marketplaces reached by the Internet, videos that were copied or otherwise derived from the GFW Amped content.”
The lawsuit also focuses on Anthem approaching Jarrett and Global Force Wrestling in October 2016 to begin discussions about a merger “in exchange for membership and equity in Anthem Sports” that would have included hiring Jarrett as Chief Creative Officer. A non-disclosure agreement was signed between both parties on December 9, 2016.
In January 2017, Jarrett signed a consultant agreement with Anthem and provided Anthem with “16 one-hour episodes of GFW Amped content to Defendants”, which the lawsuit claims still have the only copy of the masters. In May of 2017, Jarrett signed a deal with Anthem to become the official Chief Creative Officer of Anthem Wrestling.
The lawsuit notes that at this point in the agreement, Jarrett agreed to the terms of a merger between Anthem Wrestling and GFW (something publicly announced by Anthem). When Jarrett took a leave of absence from Impact Wrestling in September 2017, he was let go by Anthem. Jarrett alleges when he was terminated by Anthem, the merger between GFW and Anthem never went through and that despite Anthem’s acknowledgement of ownership of the GFW Amped content, no royalties or compensation was given to Jarrett.
Anthem promoting several PPV events under the GFW Amped name was specifically pointed out in the 26-page lawsuit, noting that they aired from July 2017 through December 2017. The lawsuit states that Anthem continues to “monetize the GFW Amped content as pay-per-view, premium television, streaming, and other viewing options on a worldwide scale”, specifically mentioning the new Global Wrestling Network streaming service. The lawsuit claims Anthem does not own a license to use GFW Amped content or trademarks.
Jarrett and GFE are seeking “an award of punitive and/or treble damages for at least three times the amount of Defendants’ profits or GFE’s damages, whichever is greater, due to the nature of Defendants’ wanton and willful conduct.”
They are also seeking an injunction that would prevent Anthem from copying, distributing, offering for sale, selling or displaying GFW Amped content. If issued, it would prevent Anthem from using the Global Wrestling Network name or any GFW likeness.
If successful, Jarrett’s lawsuit could put an end to the Global Wrestling Network.