Savage litigant sets sights on Flanimals

August must be the silly season, or at least the season for silly animals, says the IPKat. Recent posts have seen Stalking Horses and a re-enactment of Groundhog Day by the Danish Højesteret. Now it's the time for Flanimals (right) to make their debut in IP litigation, according to this item on the BBC which reports, in relevant part, that:
"Comedian and film star Ricky Gervais is being sued by an author who claims he copied his work for the best-selling book Flanimals [With a French name like Gervais, says Merpel, I'd have expected Flanimaux ...]. Norwich writer and artist John Savage has issued a High Court writ claiming the book is based on his own work, Captain Pottie's Wildlife Encyclopedia.

The comedian [according to some opinions], who is now a Hollywood star [ditto], has denied the claim.

A spokewoman for Mr Gervais said the concept and illustrations existed before Mr Savage's work [Merpel wonders if he opted for 'poor man's copyright'].

Above: a sample of the Captain Pottie graphics

The writ claims Mr Savage's artistic and literary copyright has been infringed ... [and] asks for an account of profits which would include an [US$80 million] Hollywood film deal that is expected to amount to a multi-million pound sum, said Mr Savage.

Mr Savage told the BBC: "The next stage is the High Court will send a copy [Just a copy? Why not the real thing? This is a copyright action, after all, says Merpel, and the claimant should set a good example] of the writ to Mr Gervais' lawyers and they have two weeks to decide whether to defend or accede to my request." ..."
Gervais's representatives deny infringement and say this matter was first raised years ago, when it was made clear to Savage that Gervais's ideas and drawings preceded those of Savage.

Further details of the allegations are reported in the Telegraph, which indicates that Savage views the Flanimals as being “broadly the same in content and character” to his own: both books involve “a whimsical take on the animal kingdom through the use of drawings and text”. Gervais's Flanimals include a Puddloflaj called Puddy, the Grundit and the Munge Fuddler.

The IPKat, who still misses the cut-and-thrust of the Da Vinci Code litigation (see earlier IPKat posts here, there and everywhere), is happy all over again. Will this be Da Vinci for kids?

The IPKat thanks his friend Michael Jaeger (Marks & Clerk) for these leads.
Savage litigant sets sights on Flanimals Savage litigant sets sights on Flanimals Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, August 12, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. Does anyone know which law firms have been instructed? I'd love to work in a practice that does this sort of thing.

  2. I wouldn't want to work for RG's lawyers if they forgot to advise him to register GRUNDIT, PUDDOFLAJ and MUNGE FUDDLER, inter alia, as trade marks. Unless of course no-one ever thinks of using these names for toys etc before the film comes out.

  3. well if it was FFW they'd have gone to town (and commenced proceedings for threats), so it won't be them

  4. This FFW obsession [see posts re Best Buy case] is becoming a little worrying. Can I suggest therapy?

  5. Didn't Edward Lear do this sort of thing, a few years before both of the protagnists here. Unless the claim shows more than "broadly the same content", isn't it doomed to fail?


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