MANHATTAN (CN) – The Charity Group claims that Absolut and Pernod stole its idea for a “Charity Mixology” reality TV show and broadcast the show as their own creation, “On the Rocks: The Search for America’s Top Bartender,” harming nonprofit organizations in the process.
Co-plaintiff Scott Talbot, an Australian who is sole member of The Charity Group LLC, describes himself as “an independent entrepreneur and philanthropist, (who) is currently in the United States on an E-2 treaty investor visa.”
In his federal complaint, Talbot claims that in 2007 he thought up the idea for “a reality series called Charity Mixology, in which leading bartenders would compete to develop new cocktails, with the winner earning a cash prize to be paid to charity that he or she represented.”
The Charity Group claims it signed up Absolut and Pernod as corporate sponsors, whose liquors would be featured on the show. Talbot claims both defendants signed nondisclosure agreements.
Included as an exhibit in the complaint is a letter that Pernod executive Steve Walkerwicz allegedly sent to Talbot, stating in part, “I believe the Charity treatment concept is unique and has huge potential nationally and will be an exciting philanthropic, advertising, product placement and television opportunity.”
But rather than sponsor the reality show, Absolut and Pernod launched their own program called “On the Rocks: The Search for America’s Top Bartender,” according to the complaint.
Talbot claims, “The concept of that series is identical to the Charity Group concept … with one difference: no money will be raised for nonprofits, thus disadvantaging charities around the country, including the public at large.”
Talbot demands damages for breach of contract, unfair competition and misappropriation of trade secrets. He is represented by Martin Siegel with Brown Rudnick LLP.