Godzilla Attacks Subway!

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Godzilla Attacks Subway!

Thu Apr 17, 2008 @ 11:07AM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Godzilla_2The giant-sized prehistoric dragon-like monster might have reached the apex of its popularity in the 1950s, but Godzilla's legal appetite continues to roar.

Toho Co., the Japanese company that owns the trademark and copyright rights to Godzilla, is now suing Subway after the sandwich chain prominently featured an advertising campaign during the 2008 NCAA basketball tournament (sports fans probably saw the ads featuing an angry Godzilla attacking a Japanese city then endorsing Subway).

"Defendants never sought or obtained Toho's permission to use Godzilla in the television commercial," says the complaint, filed by Charles Shephard and Aaron Moss at Greenberg Glusker in LA. "Immediately after learning of the commercial, Toho demanded that Doctor's Associates (Subway's parent company) cease and desist from further broadcasting the commercial. It refused."

Toho emerges from the sea to feed on infringers every now and then. Five years ago, the company attacked a small blog whose suffix unfortunately ended in "zilla." Ten years ago, in an eery foreshadow of the recent Harry Potter lawsuit, Toho fought and prevailed against the publisher of a Godzilla encyclopedia.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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