Viacom Inc sued Cablevision Systems Corp to halt what it called the unauthorized streaming of its programing on devices such as Apple Inc's iPad.
The lawsuit was filed on Thursday in Manhattan federal court, one day after court documents showed that Cablevision's larger rival Time Warner Cable Inc and Viacom are trying to settle a similar dispute, and have put related lawsuits on hold while they try.
A Cablevision spokesman said the Bethpage, New York-based company expects to comment later on Thursday.
The popularity of mobile devices such as iPads has caused friction between content providers and cable companies such as Viacom over whether various means of distribution violate contractual or trademark rights.
Viacom said Cablevision's April 2 launch of a computer application to allow streaming of television programs through a cable modem to iPad tablets violates its agreement to distribute Viacom programing only on cable TV systems.
The lawsuit seeks a halt to the alleged improper streaming, $2 million for each trademark violation, compensatory and punitive damages, and other remedies.
Cablevision has about 3.7 million customers, while Time Warner Cable has about 14.5 million, regulatory filings show.
Viacom, whose chief executive is Philippe Dauman and executive chairman is Sumner Redstone, is based in New York. Its channels include MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Black Entertainment Television, Comedy Central and Country Music Television.
Cablevision also owns properties such as the Long Island, New York, newspaper Newsday. Its chief executive, James Dolan, is also executive chairman of Madison Square Garden Co, which controls the New York Rangers hockey team, New York Knicks basketball team and Radio City Music Hall.
In afternoon trading, Cablevision shares were down 85 cents, or 2.4 percent, at $34.51, while Viacom's Class A shares were down 89 cents or 1.6 percent at $55.31.
The case is Viacom International Inc et al v. Cablevision Systems Corp et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-04265.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Matthew Lewis)