In court papers filed Tuesday, Lee asked for an injunction against Viacom's use of the name, saying he had never given his consent for it to be used.
"The media description of this change of name, as well as comments made to me and my wife, confirmed what was obvious — that Spike TV referred to Spike Lee," Lee said in court papers.
The judge directed Viacom to explain why it shouldn't be barred from using the name.
TNN, which bills Spike TV as "the first network for men," said it was "confident that the court will reject any legal claims by Mr. Lee to the popular word and name Spike."
Viacom bought TNN in 2000, and said in April that it would change the channel's name to Spike TV on June 16 in an attempt to increase the number of men in an audience that is already about two-thirds male. It said on Tuesday that it was confident the court would reject Lee's claims to the name Spike.
Viacom also owns CBS, Showtime movie channel, VH1, UPN, book publisher Simon & Schuster and other properties.
According to Lee, TNN's president, Albie Hecht, has said the public associates the name 'Spike' with Lee.
Lee, whose given name is Shelton Jackson Lee, included in court papers affidavits from people including former Sen. Bill Bradley, and actors Ossie Davis and Ed Norton. The affidavits said the signers had thought of Lee when they heard about Spike TV and some said they believed he had become affiliated with the network.
Lee directed Nike sneaker commercials with Michael Jordan. His movies include "Malcolm X," "Jungle Fever" and "Do the Right Thing."