The U.S.-based Miss Universe Organization L.P. filed suit Tuesday in a Lithuanian court claiming copyright violation by the organizers of the Mrs. Universe pageant that was held Saturday in the Baltic state.
“Our claim is very simple. The title was used illegally because all rights belong to the U.S.-based company,” Erikas Saukalas, a lawyer representing Miss Universe Organization L.P., told reporters in Vilnius.
The organizer of the Mrs. Universe pageant, which was shown live on TV3, a regional cable TV channel, denied any wrongdoing.
Jennika Hannusaari of Finland won the Mrs. Universe pageant, which featured competitors from 22 countries such as Venezuela and Armenia. As the name suggests, all contestants had to be married.
On Monday a 22-year-old Mexico woman, Jimena Navarrete, was crowned Miss Universe in a Las Vegas show that boasted 83 contestants.
One of the main thrusts of the Lithuanian pageant was awareness of human trafficking, which continues to plague many East European countries. Participants held a discussion on the topic in Lithuania’s government, which helped sponsor the pageant, and presented a project, “Beauty Against Human Trafficking,” as a possible idea to combat the problem.
Gruzdiene did not rule out that it was the trafficking aspect that triggered a lot of the criticism of the pageant.
“Huge amounts of money is involved in that business, so we can only guess that someone disliked this idea,” Gruzdiene said.
(This version CORRECTS the word “company” to “country” in paragraph 2. )
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