A blog to impart info on the happenings in the world of IPR presented from a legal perspective.
Monday, September 22, 2008
HARRY POTTER v. HARI PUTTAR
Warner Bros. have lost the case against the movie Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors. The judge noted that the plaintiffs did not establish irreparable loss or damage that would be caused to them by the release of the film.
The timing of the suit was also brought into question and played major part in the decision as the suit was brought just before the release of the film. The judge remarked that the defendants had painstakingly put together the movie and the plaintiff's had not objected before. When they had reached the finishing line, the plaintiffs put up the objection thus trying to stop the defendants from completing their goal and to cross the finishing line. Their conduct is is diametrically opposed to the cardinal principle of vigilentibus non dormientibur enquitor and cannot be countenanced by a Court bound to take into consideration legal as well as equitable considerations.
The judge also made remarks to the effect that the audience would know the difference between the book and the movie as the stories are different and the viewer would in no way be confused.
The judge dismissed the above argument with the following comments:
E]ven assuming there is any structural or phonetic similarity in the words ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Hari Puttar’, what has to be borne in mind is that the Harry Potter films are targeted to meet the entertainment needs of an elite and exclusive audience—the cognoscenti - an audience able to discern the difference between a film based on Harry Potter book on the one hand and a film which is a Punjabi comedy on the other, the chief protagonist of which is Hariprasad Dhoonda. It is not the case of a consumer good or product, which stands on an entirely different footing.
Necessarily, the yardstick must also differ bearing in mind the fact that a consumer product such as a soap or even a pharmaceutical product may be purchased by an unwary purchaser or even an illiterate one, but the possibility of an unlettered audience viewing a Harry Potter movie are remote to say the least. To put it differently an illiterate or semi-literate movie viewer in case he ventures to see a film by the name of Hari Puttar would never be able to relate the same with a Harry Potter film or book. Conversely, an educated person who has pored over or even browsed through a book on Harry Potter or viewed a Harry Potter film, is not likely to be misled. Such a person must be taken to be astute enough to know the difference between a Harry Potter film and a film entitled Hari Puttar, for, in my view, the cognoscenti, the intellectuals and even the pseudo-intellectuals presumably know the difference between chalk and cheese or at any rate must be presumed to know the same.