6259Ruling may halt Ultraman TV series
- Apr 12, 2007The Intellectual Property Court's ruling on April 2 may abruptly
suspend the highly anticipated Ultraman TV series, which is a spin-
off from the original Japanese action-hero character, because the new
Ultraman characters are deemed to be a copyright infringement.
Chaiyo Productions, a local company which produced the big-budget TV
series, may be forced to cancel the screening of the 52-episode
Ultraman series, called "Project Ultraman", starring Hong Kong actor
Production of the series, costing Bt150 million, is complete, and it
is scheduled to be aired on Channel 7 in the next few months. Chaiyo
Productions also expects the new Ultraman series to generate more
than Bt600 million in revenue from advertising and sponsorship
throughout the region. The company is also exploring other potential
international markets. Hundreds of millions of baht more are expected
to be generated from sub-licensing the Ultraman characters to
manufacturers of toys and merchandise in many markets around the
The Thai IP Court ruled that Sompote Sangduenchai and his production
house Chaiyo Productions could not claim the rights for Ultraman
products except for nine Ultraman movies that Sompote co-produced
many years ago. The ruling was made in response to a complaint made
by Tsuburaya Productions, the Japanese license-holder of the Ultraman
Moreover, the court said that Sompote could not claim the copyrights
of new Ultraman characters created by Tsuburaya Productions and could
not distribute Ultraman Millennium, Dark Ultraman and Ultraman Elite
created by Chaiyo.
Sompote and his companies have one month in which to appeal the IP
Apart from the TV series, Sompote and his companies have sold the
rights for the new Ultraman characters to several companies which
produce related merchandise.
RSi Dream Entertainment, the company's event-organising subsidiary,
signed a con-
tract yesterday with Chaiyo Productions for five-year exclusive
marketing rights for its "Project Ultraman" 52-episode television
series in Thailand and some neighbouring countries. "We have to cease
all of our activities and wait to see how Khun Sompote clears the
issue with the Japanese license-holder," RSi Dream Entertainment
managing director Boonperm Intanapasat said.
"Luckily, we haven't spent a big budget promoting the series," he
Rsi Dream Entertainment planned to generate between Bt60 million and
Bt70 million from the Ultraman series, showbiz productions,
sponsorships, home video and marketing events in the first year.
A legal advisor to Apex Toys, a local toy-maker which has been
awarded the right by Chaiyo Productions to manufacture and distribute
toys and merchandise of the new Ultraman characters, said that the
company had yet to receive any details from Chaiyo about their legal
"The dust has yet to settle," he said. "We need to wait for a final
solution as the case is just at the Court of First Instance stage and
may be passed on to Appeals and finally the Supreme Court."