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Donald Trump sues Y Combinator in reality TV turf war

In Entertainment, Startups on March 17, 2011 at 8:10 am

Donald Trump launched a legal assault today on Y Combinator, which debuted its self-titled reality TV show last Fall.

The suit alleges that the show Y Combinator heavily copies The Apprentice, which also features business-themed challenges and a showboat overlord of a host.

“It’s simple. I’m the one who says ‘You’re fired.’ Not that guy, even if he isn’t saying the exact words,” said Trump.

“You come to my town, you better be ready to face off with the big dogs.”

Y Combinator, which just started its second season in Silicon Alley in New York, ends every show at a Y Combinator dinner, where Paul Graham terminates a startup with his famous line, “We’re sorry to say we couldn’t accept your proposal for funding.”

Unlike The Apprentice, Y Combinator pits small teams against each other, awarding the winning teams $11,000 + $3,000n, where n is the number of founders in the team.

While the lawsuit does not specify damages, insiders say Trump’s legal team plans to use the expected catastrophic failure of this season’s Celebrity Apprentice as evidence of Y Combinator‘s negative effect.

“I fail to see any similarities,” said Graham. “We have challenges, sure. Omarosa is on the show. But this isn’t The Apprentice and I’m not Donald Trump.”

Graham quickly added, “Although they did ask me to be on the cover of Forbes again this month.”

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