SciFi Japan

    Tsuburaya Productions Releases Statement Over Final Decision in US Ultraman Litigation

    Tsuburaya Productions has released a statement regarding their US court victory over UM Corporation regarding the rights to Ultraman. ULTRAMAN © TSUBURAYA PRODUCTIONS

    Source: Tsuburaya Productions On November 20, 2017, SciFi Japan broke the news that a jury in Los Angeles Federal Court had ruled in favor of Tsuburaya Productions in their dispute with UM Corporation over the international rights to Ultraman. Tsuburaya Productions has now issued the following statement in both English and Japanese regarding the final court decision... Notice of Winning Final Court Judgment in U.S. Lawsuit Regarding “Ultraman” Rights Regarding the U.S. Lawsuit against UM Corporation (“UMC”), in which we had previously announced Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd. (“TPC”)’s victory in a jury trial in our previous “Notice of Winning Judgment in U.S. Lawsuit Regarding ‘Ultraman’ Rights,” dated April 24, 2018 and, following our prevailing judgment at the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit (the “Appeal Court”) on December 5, 2019, TPC is pleased to announce that our victory is now completely final.With UMC failing to file a further appeal to the Supreme Court by the March 4, 2020 deadline, the court’s judgment and TPC’s victory is now final and concluded. 1. Summary of Litigation As stated in previous Press Release, this case commenced with UMC filing a lawsuit against TPC in the United States District Court, Central District of California (the “District Court”), on May 18, 2015, seeking confirmation of its alleged rights to use the “Ultraman” series and characters owned by TPC. On September 11, 2015, TPC filed a countersuit against UMC and its licensees to confirm TPC’s exclusive worldwide rights in “Ultraman” and to recover damages from UMC and its licensees for their infringements. In support of the assertion of its rights, UMC claimed that there was an agreement signed in 1976 (the “Document”) by Mr. Noboru Tsuburaya, the representative of TPC, which gave Mr. Sompote Saengduenchai, a Thai businessman, the right to use and exploit “Ultraman” worldwide, excluding Japan, and that UMC had succeeded to Mr. Sompote’s alleged rights. In response, TPC asserted that the Document was a forgery, that UMC had no rights to use “Ultraman,” and that UMC was infringing upon TPC’s copyrights by doing so. Therefore, the principal point of dispute in this lawsuit was whether the Document was an authentic contract signed and sealed by Mr. Noboru Tsuburaya, or whether it was forged. The first judgment was given by the District Court, and it fully affirmed the entire claim of TPC, including our position that the Document, claimed by UMC as the basis for its alleged rights in “Ultraman,” was in no way an authentic or binding contract. In addition to confirming that TPC possesses all the rights to develop and expand any audio-visual or other creative works or products based on “Ultraman” characters and stories, the judgment required UMC to pay damages for its infringement of TPC’s rights, in addition to having to cover TPC’s attorneys’ fees in this litigation. 2. Appeal Court Judgment UMC filed an appeal on May 7, 2018, claiming that the District Court had made certain errors before and during the trial that prejudiced UMC and required a new trial. On December 5, 2019, following extensive written briefs and an oral argument, the Court of Appeal rejected UMC’s appeal and affirmed the jury’s verdict and the District Court’s judgment in favor of TPC. 3. Case Closed / Judgment Entered as a Final Decision Since UMC failed to file a final appeal by the March 4, 2020 deadline, TPC’s victorious judgment was finalized. In addition, as part of such judgment, UMC was ordered to pay TPC approximately US $4,000,000 (approx. 400 million Japanese yen) as compensatory damages for the infringement of TPC’s rights and its litigation costs, and we plan to seek reimbursement of such amounts from the UMC and other losing parties. 4. TPC’s Comment This final judgment in the U.S. lawsuit possesses an extremely high level of credibility and truthfulness as this decision was rendered after hearing the testimony of numerous witnesses and the analytical opinions of handwriting analysis experts, in addition to the detailed evidentiary disclosure proceedings over an extended period of time that required enormous efforts on the part of the TPC team. TPC will actively proceed with and strengthen further overseas expansion of the “Ultraman” works and build a brand that will not only fascinate viewers with the enthralling Ultraman and Kaiju characters, but will also cultivate, and acknowledge the virtues of “Courage”, “Hope” and “Kindness”. We are grateful for the continuous support of all our customers, stakeholders, and fans of the “Ultraman” series worldwide, and we ask all of you to continue enjoying our authentic products and services through authorized local Ultraman partners. ??????????????????? 2018?4?24???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????2019?12?5????????????????9??????????????????????2020?3?4????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????????????????? ??????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????2015?5?18?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????2015?9?11????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????1976???????????????????????????1976????????????????1976?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????1976????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????? ???????????2018?5?7???????????????????????2019?12?5?????????1976????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????? ?2020?3?4????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????$4,000,000??????4??????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????? ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    About Tsuburaya Productions

    Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd. has created dozens of heroes and other characters, including Ultraman, who have been loved from generation to generation. The base for the company was Tsuburaya Visual Effects Research, which was launched by the Japanese “Father of Special Effects” Eiji Tsuburaya. After showing his skill and making a name for himself working on many monster movies and special effects laden fantasy science films, in 1963 Tsuburaya incorporated Tsuburaya Visual Effects Research and established Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd. in order to advance further research and development of special effects technologies and release visual works that could be enjoyed by a wider audience. The company has continued to maintain Eiji Tsuburaya’s policies even after his death. 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the company’s founding, and it continues its work to this day. Currently, the company carries out activities including production of works for television, original video works, and films for theatrical release; licensing of owned characters’ content; development of various products; event planning and live staged events that bring out the maximum appeal of its owned characters, and development of facilities that handle related items.

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