Suit claims that Spike TV's "American Digger" gives metal detecting a bad name
"American Digger" might have dug itself into a hole from a legal standpoint.
The Spike TV reality series, which follows former WWE star-turned-treasure hunter Ric Savage (left) as he explores the nation for buried treasure — is at the center of a lawsuit filed by the publishers of a magazine that bears the same name.
In the suit, filed Friday in federal court in Georgia, Greybird Publishing claims that Spike and its parent company, Viacom, are using the American Diggers trademark without license or authorization, and that the use of the name is causing confusion in the marketplace and damage to the magazine's reputation.
The suit describes "American Digger" magazine, which was founded in 2004 by Anita and Grady R. Holcombe, as "a magazine dedicated to the hobby of metal detecting and founded to promote the responsible excavation and recovery of artifacts related to America's heritage, for enjoyment and historical significance."
According to the suit, when the show made its debut in March 2012, the Holcombes were inundated with "a barrage of calls, emails and unfavorable comments on hobbyist forums from subscribers and hobbyists alarmed by the show's highly inflammatory and negative depiction of their hobby and the risks the show posed for the ability of hobbyists to continue to pursue their metal detecting activities, and believing that the show was related to the American Digger magazine."
The suit, which also names "American Digger" production company New 38th Floor Productions, claims that the series tarnishes the hobby of metal detecting by applying a mercenary mentality to it.
"[D]efendants' television series emphasizes 'the hopes of striking it rich and capitalizing on unearthing and selling bits of American History," the suit reads.
A spokeswoman for the show has not yet returned TheWrap's request for comment.
Claiming trademark infringement, dilution and unjust enrichment, the suit is asking that the defendants be prevented from further using the American Digger trademark in any way, or act in any way that would cause confusion among the public.
The suit is also asking for actual and enhanced damages, and further relief.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.