ST. LOUIS (CN) – Viacom Outdoor misled billboard companies and swiped their ideas for constructing billboards on railroad sites, the 8th Circuit ruled.
Judge Bowman found that Viacom falsely claimed to be an agent for railroads that evaluated billboard applications on a first-come, first-served basis, but instead reviewed the applications to select which sites it wanted to develop.
When Viacom chose a site, it would tell the applicant that another company had applied for that site first, or it would fail to forward the application to the railroad.
Bowman ruled that Viacom misused its position as a “gatekeeper” in the billboard application process. The plaintiffs had no choice but to send Viacom their applications, which included detailed descriptions of the billboard sites.