SciFi Japan

    Tsuburaya Productions Releases Statement Over Ultraman Rights Appeal Win

    Tsuburaya Productions has released a statement regarding their US court victory over UM Corporation regarding the international rights to Ultraman. ULTRAMAN © Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.

    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. UMC filed an appeal in 2018. On December 5, 2019, the United States Court of Appeal entered a final judgment in Tsuburaya`s favor. Tsuburaya Productions has now issued the following statement in both English and Japanese... Notice of Winning Appeal Court Judgment In U.S. Lawsuit Regarding “Ultraman” Rights Regarding the U.S. Lawsuit against UM Corporation (“UMC”), in which we had previously announced TPC’s victory in a jury trial in the “Notice of Winning Judgment in U.S. Lawsuit Regarding ‘Ultraman’ Rights,” dated April 24, 2018, the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit (“Appeal Court”), entered a final judgment on December 5, 2019, as follows: 1?Court and Date of Judgment given U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit (Pasadena, California) December 5, 2019 (local time) 2?Outline of this litigation This case started with UMC filing a lawsuit against TPC in the United States District Court, Central District of California (“District Court”), on May 18, 2015, seeking confirmation of its alleged rights to use the “Ultraman” series and characters created 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 its assertion of rights, UMC claimed that there was an agreement signed in 1976 (the “Document”) by Noboru Tsuburaya, who was the representative of TPC, which gave Mr. Sompote Saengduenchai, a Thai businessman, rights to use and exploit “Ultraman” worldwide, excluding Japan, and that UMC had succeeded to Mr. Sompote’s alleged rights. TPC asserted that the Document was a forgery, such that UMC had no rights to use “Ultraman,” and that UMC infringed 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 Noboru Tsuburaya, or whether it was forged. The First judgment was given by the District Court, fully affirming the entire claim of TPC, including that the supposed Document, claimed by UMC as the basis for its alleged rights in “Ultraman,” was not an authentic 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 or stories, the judgment required UMC to pay damages for its infringement of TPC’s rights and as well as TPC’s attorney’s fees in this litigation. 3?Appeal Court Judgment UMC filed an appeal on May 7, 2018, claiming that the District Court made certain errors before and during the trial that prejudiced UMC and require a new trial. On December 5, 2019, following extensive written briefing and an oral argument, the Court of Appeal rejected UMC’s appeal and affirmed the jury’s verdict and District Court’s judgment in favor of TPC. 4?Outlook Similar to the First Judgment, the Court of Appeals fully affirmed the entire claim of TPC regarding its exclusive ownership of rights in “Ultraman.” Although UMC may try to appeal again to the United States Supreme Court, that Supreme Court only accepts appeals on rare occasions, and we are advised that it would be unlikely to accept UMC’s appeal in this case. We are therefore hopeful that the Court of Appeals’ ruling will result in the termination of litigation in the United States between TPC and UMC. We are grateful for the continuous support of all our customers, stakeholders, and fans of the “Ultraman” series. ?????????????????????? 2018 ?4 ?24 ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????2019 ?12 ?5 ????????????????9 ??????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????? ? ???????????????? ????????9 ??????????????????????? 2019 ?12 ?5 ??????? ??????? ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????2015 ?5 ?18?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????2015 ?9 ?11 ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????1976 ???????????????????????????1976 ????????????????1976 ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????1976 ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????? ??????????2018 ?5 ?7 ???????????????????????2019 ?12?5 ?????????1976 ????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????? ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    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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