Moet The Walt Disney Company Winnie the Pooh-rechten afstaan

Berichtdoor DisneyRemc°o° » vr feb 16, 2007 10:46 pm

"Co. Petitions for Disney to Give Up Pooh
Thursday February 8, 1:44 pm ET
By Ed Welsch, Dow Jones Newswires
Winnie the Pooh Rights Holder Trying to Force Disney to Cancel Trademark Registrations

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the latest move in a long struggle with Walt Disney Co. over the rights to A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh, Stephen Slesinger Inc. petitioned the U.S. Patent Office to cancel Disney's trademark registrations over the 80-year-old bear and his friends.

Disney moved immediately to block Slesinger's petition, saying in its quarterly report filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the petition duplicated Slesinger's requests in an ongoing lawsuit between the two companies.

Stephen Slesinger Inc. is a film production company named after the literary agent who bought merchandising and other rights to Winnie the Pooh from Milne in the 1930s. The company sued Disney in 1991 claiming that the Burbank, Calif., media conglomerate owed it several hundred million dollars in royalties for Pooh movies and merchandise. Slesinger also sought to cancel its 1983 licensing agreement with Disney, citing alleged contract breaches. The case was dismissed in 2004, but Slesinger is appealing the dismissal.

In 2002, Disney's entertainment unit and Milne's granddaughter filed suit against Slesinger to terminate A.A. Milne's grant of the Pooh rights to the literary agent and his company. A district court ruled against Disney and Clare Milne's right to terminate Slesinger's rights, and an appeals court affirmed the district court's ruling. In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Disney's appeal.

Slesinger filed its own countersuit to Disney and Clare Milne's suit, seeking, among other things, $2 billion in damages. The ongoing trials between Slesinger and Disney are scheduled to continue this spring.

Disney spokesman Jonathan Friedland said the allegations in Slesinger's petition to the patent office are same they've made in their earlier case that was dismissed.

"This is by no means anything more than the 'same old, same old,'" he said."

Als Disney Winnie the Pooh echt op moet geven, lopen ze hier een aardige inkomstenbron mee mis. Winnie the Pooh is toch één van de belangrijkste figuren waar op het gebied van merchandising een hoop geld uitgehaald wordt.

Hier is ook nog een nieuwsfilmpje: Battle Over Pooh Bear (CNCB)

Vervolgens ook nog een bericht dat beweert dat de familie Slesinger de copyright-zaak heeft gewonnen. Maar onderaan het bericht staat dat deze informatie van de familie Slesinger zelf afkomstig is, dus ik weet niet hoe betrouwbaar deze bron is:

"Slesinger Family Wins 'Pooh' Copyright Case

Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment Against Disney
Slesinger Pursuing Damages Against Disney Including Terminating US and
Canadian Television, Media and Merchandising Rights to Winnie the Pooh

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Federal District Judge
Florence-Marie Cooper, of the United States District Court, Central
District, issued a major decision in the federal copyright case, granting
Stephen Slesinger, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment, effectively ending
the Walt Disney Company's efforts to take back the Winnie the Pooh
Barry Slotnick, Slesinger's attorney from the law firm of Buchanan
Ingersoll & Rooney, said, "The Court once again has once ruled that
Disney's claims against Slesinger are improper. Now that Disney's misguided
claims have been dismissed, we can focus on pursuing Slesinger's claims
against Disney for damages, trademark and copyright infringement, breach of
contract, and fraudulently underpaying royalties, and seeking in excess of
$2 billion in compensatory and general damages. We applaud the granting of
our motion for summary judgment."
"In 2003, the U.S. district court in Los Angeles held there was no
basis whatsoever for the first of two termination notices secured by Disney
under the Copyright Act from the granddaughters of author A.A. Milne and
one of the illustrators of his Winnie the Pooh stories. Now, the other shoe
has dropped. The Court held there is no basis for the other termination
notice instigated by Disney. The fact that the Court has now held that
there is no need even for a trial concerning either termination notice
shows that Disney had no business starting this lawsuit in the first place.
The bottom line is that Disney's attempt to evade its royalty obligations
to Slesinger has failed," said Roger Zissu, of the law firm of Fross
Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C.
"It was Disney's attempt to take back the rights granted to my father
over 70 years ago that led this case into federal court. Perhaps Disney
might have spent their time merchandising Winnie the Pooh worldwide instead
of attempting this scheme to take back what the court has thankfully ruled
has been the Slesinger's all along: the rights to Winnie the Pooh," said
Pati Slesinger.
In addition to the state case, Stephen Slesinger, Inc., has petitioned
the United States Trademark and Patents Office seeking cancellation of a
number of trademarks taken out by Disney on Winnie the Pooh based on the
allegation that Disney had no legal right to do.

SOURCE Slesinger Family"
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