Man says he's been working on SmashCuts! since the early 2000s
The creator of film, TV and online video shorts claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that CBS' TV distribution division and Renegade 83 Productions lifted his idea for the show "SmashCuts!" — the name and concept right down to the "marks" and on-screen logos.
Scott Forrest's lawsuit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, levels claims of trademark infringement, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices. It seeks unspecified damages.
Distributed by CBS Television and produced by Renegade 83 Productions, Inc., (also a defendant), the syndicated show is a mashup of video odds-and-ends from around the web and elsewhere, featuring young, hip hosts in their 20s.
CBS did not immediately respond to a request by TheWrap for comment on Thursday. The lawsuit also names two individuals, Julian Smith and Joe Hanson, "actors/entertainers" who the lawsuit claims collaborated with Renegade on the project.
The lawsuit describes Forrest as "a visionary pioneer and award-winning creator and owner of the well-known company, concept and trademark known as 'SmashCuts!'" It says he created the idea for an indie TV show featuring compressed video shorts as early as 1996.
He registered his idea and the name with the Writers Guild of America and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He also claims to have registered the domain names smashcuts.com and smashcuts.net, neither of which is currently up and running.
He spent subsequent years developing his idea, including appearances at film festivals and events to advance his brand. Forrest was recognized in the entertainment community for his work, including a Best Web Series award for SmashCuts! at the 2001 Internet World Awards at Paramount Studios, the lawsuit states. He also had a distribution deal through now-defunct Hollywood Video.
The suit states that Forrest was contacted in 2009 by a person who would not be identified with interest in the brand, including purchase of his domain names. He declined at the time.
Shortly thereafter, "shockingly, Forrest was notified that, unbeknownst to him, there was a program being heavily featured and aired on CBS actually entitled 'SmashCuts!'" featuring the exact same marks and concept, the lawsuit states.
"In fact, even the logo utilized by Defendants in the promotion and branding of this television programming is essentially the same logo and design as Forrest created and used for many years," the suit says, adding that CBS was put on notice "long ago" but continues to air the show.
The suit seeks damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief and legal fees.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this story.