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Gordon v. DreamWorks Animation et al.

Obtained dismissal with prejudice for DreamWorks Animation (DWA) and Paramount Pictures in a copyright infringement suit involving the 2008 animated film Kung Fu Panda. The plaintiff alleged that DWA used his original character sketches and stories as the basis for the 2008 film. The plaintiff dismissed his case with prejudice weeks before trial after Loeb & Loeb uncovered a 1996 Disney coloring book that the plaintiff copied in order to create the panda artwork that was the basis for his lawsuit. (Gordon v. DreamWorks Animation et al)
Loeb and (2) a collection of sketches that Gordon registered in 2011 that were conspicuously labeled “Kung Fu Panda Power” and that contained the “Five Fists of Fury,” a group of characters that included the exact same kung fu fighting animals as DWA’s kung fu fighting characters called the “Furious Five,” who were voiced by Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan and others in the 2008 hit film. Neither the words “kung fu” nor Gordon’s purported “Five Fists of Fury” characters were included in any of the thousands of pages of artwork and stories that Gordon had registered with the copyright office in the decades prior to the release of DWA’s film. Nevertheless, Gordon testified that these 2011-registered sketches were created in the early 1990s, and he claimed that he sent these sketches to Disney in the early 1990s, and to DreamWorks thereafter. Trial was set for early October 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Shortly before trial, Loeb & Loeb uncovered a 1996 Disney coloring book featuring characters from the film The Lion King, upon which Gordon’s 2000 and 2011 registrations were clearly derived. The 2011-registered sketches were dated from the early 1990s, but because they were derived from a coloring book that had not been published until 1996, it seems that they were backdated to create Gordon’s copyright claim. After the defendants brought this evidence to the attention of plaintiff’s counsel, and while the defendants were preparing to file a motion to dismiss based on fraud on the court, Gordon dismissed his case with prejudice. This was the second victory that Loeb & Loeb has obtained in connection with Kung Fu Panda. In 2011, the team obtained a defense verdict after a multi-week jury trial in Los Angeles Superior Court in a lawsuit alleging that DWA used the ideas of a tai chi instructor named Terence Dunn in creating the animated hit.