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6261Tsuburaya Production wins Ultraman case

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  • bermudezinc
    Apr 12, 2007
      Tsuburaya Production wins Ultraman case

      Published on Apr 5, 2007


      The Intellectual Property Court has ruled in favour of Japan's
      Tsuburaya Production by ordering Sompote Saengduenchai and his two
      companies, Tsuburaya Chaiyo and Chaiyo Productions, to stop making a
      commercial profit from new Ultraman characters.
      The three defendants have also been ordered to pay a fine of Bt15
      million, plus interest and attorneys' fees.


      Sampote Thianthong, managing director of Pro-Link, a public-relations
      and business-promotion firm hired by Japan's Tsuburaya Production,
      which owns the Ultraman characters, and Manu Rakwattanakul, an
      attorney with Baker and McKenzie, told a press conference yesterday
      that Monday's court ruling meant Sompote and his companies could no
      longer claim the copyright for new Ultraman characters.


      Sompote's companies created new characters based on the original
      Ultraman models, including Ultraman Millennium, Dark Ultraman and
      Ultraman Elite, to profit from such events as films and light and
      sound exhibitions.


      The Japanese licence-holder launched the lawsuit in 2004 asking the
      Intellectual Property Court to order Sompote to stop making a profit
      from new Ultraman characters. The Ultraman products were in the form
      of VCDs, stickers, children's clothes and action figures.


      Sampote and Manu, however, noted that Sompote might appeal the case.
      Meanwhile, those who bought licences from Sompote would also have to
      stop making a profit from the new Ultraman characters.


      The Japanese side had filed an earlier case against Sompote in 1997,
      accusing him of faking an authorisation agreement allowing him to
      profit from the Ultraman characters.


      Tsuburaya Production lost the case in 2000. That case is now under
      appeal.


      Tsuburaya Production, however, launched another lawsuit in 2004
      accusing Sompote of violating a 1976 agreement limiting Sompote's
      copyright to only nine movies made by Sompote in the 1970s, such
      as "Ultraman and Hanuman".


      Sompote later created new Ultraman characters. The Intellectual
      Property Court earlier this week ruled in favour of the Japanese
      side, saying the copyright on the nine movies from the 1970s did not
      include any characters and was separate from the copyright for the
      use of Ultraman characters.


      Ultraman is an action hero based on a popular Japanese television
      series created in the 1970s.


      The court also ruled the three defendants - Sompote, Tsuburaya Chaiyo
      and Chaiyo Production - were jointly liable for payment of Bt15
      million to Tsuburaya Production, plus interest at the rate of 7.5 per
      cent per annum from the date of the filing of the lawsuit until
      payment is made in full.


      The court also ruled the three defendants were jointly liable for
      payment of court fees to Tsuburaya Production, plus Bt80,000 in
      attorneys' fees.


      Nitida Aswanipont, The Nation