No Snuggles for O'Kelly

The subscription-only service of LexisNexis Butterworths has rather sparsely noted Animatrix Ltd and others v O'Kelly [2008] EWHC 438 (Ch). This is a rare but not unprecedented ruling by Philip Sales QC, sitting yesterday as a Deputy Judge of the Chancery Division in an IP matter (an earlier foray into IP was noted by the IPKat here).

O'Kelly was the creator of Dr Snuggles, a fictional character who once starred in his own cartoon series on the TV. The first claimant, Animatrix, was the assignee of the copyright in Dr Snuggles, but held that copyright on trust for a second claimant - a limited liability between O'Kelly's own corporate vehicle and the third claimant (a corporate vehicle by which a new Mr Snuggles series was being financed).

After the relationship between the third claimant and O'Kelly broke down, O'Kelly maintained that he was the legal owner of the copyright because the deed of assignment was ineffective to pass the rights to Animatrix. The three claimants disagreed and sued for a declaration that the rights belonged to them. The story almost ended happily after, when the action was compromised on terms that the application for a declaration would be stayed so that O'Kelly could find the £325,000he needed to pay the claimants by as a settlement fee, the idea being that if no settlement payment was forthcoming, Dr Snuggles would be held in trust by Animatrix as trustee for the second claimant. No payment was forthcoming, so the claimants sought their declaration. O'Kelly maintained that the court should not exercise its discretion to make that declaration.

Philip Sales QC granted the application. In his view, taking the terms of the settlement agreement into account, the claimants were entitled to be treated as the full legal owner and as beneficial owner, respectively, of Dr Snuggles.

Left: Snuggles, adopted 2/7/04. Does anyone know what happened to her? Does she belong to Animatrix too?

Frustratingly the note on this case gives no clue as to the issues the judge was being asked to weigh up. Was O'Kelly simply seeking more time to pay? Was he trying the reopen the issues that the compromise agreement supposedly resolved? Did the judge just give the result but withhold the reasons? Maybe we shall ever know, but the IPKat is certain of one thing: any note of a judicial decision that gives the result but doesn't explain its basis is unlikely to worth anything to anyone.

Buggles here
Huggles here
Muggles here
Puggles here
Ruggles here
Snuggles here
Wuggles here
No Snuggles for O'Kelly No Snuggles for O'Kelly Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 Rating: 5

No comments:

All comments must be moderated by a member of the IPKat team before they appear on the blog. Comments will not be allowed if the contravene the IPKat policy that readers' comments should not be obscene or defamatory; they should not consist of ad hominem attacks on members of the blog team or other comment-posters and they should make a constructive contribution to the discussion of the post on which they purport to comment.

It is also the IPKat policy that comments should not be made completely anonymously, and users should use a consistent name or pseudonym (which should not itself be defamatory or obscene, or that of another real person), either in the "identity" field, or at the beginning of the comment. Current practice is to, however, allow a limited number of comments that contravene this policy, provided that the comment has a high degree of relevance and the comment chain does not become too difficult to follow.

Learn more here:

Powered by Blogger.