A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge announced that he would be looking over a 2018 case filed by Gary Goldman against Disney over “breach of implied-in-fact contract, breach of confidence and unfair competition.” Goldman was a writer on the film “Total Recall” and claims that the “animated hit film “Zootopia” was premised on his ideas.” No one at Disney animation working on “Zootopia” ever heard of Goldman before he sued, according to the Disney attorneys’ court papers. While Disney claims that none of their team working on the movie had ever heard of Goldman before the suit and is requesting the judge dismiss the case.

“With respect to similarities, it is undisputed that Disney used the identical word ‘Zootopia’ that Goldman created, which is remarkable because it is a made-up word that had never been used before with a creative work,” Goldman’s lawyers state in their court papers.
The similarities do not end with the word “Zootopia” itself, Goldman’s lawyers state in their court papers.

“The parties used it in remarkably similar ways as the central concepts for their respective projects about anthropomorphic animals living in a modern, diverse society called ‘Zootopia’ that each examine the validity of the utopian ideal that an animal can be whatever he wants, no matter its species,” Goldman’s lawyers further stated in their court papers.

Goldman, in a sworn declaration, described how he came up with the word “Zootopia.”

“In thinking about a society of free animals who choose to work at a zoo for a living, the word ‘Zootopia’ occurred to me,” he said. “I believed I had invented the word and I thought it was a very catchy title for a zoo-themed franchise; so catchy in fact that I did not even want to say it to my kids, lest they might repeat it to others.”

“Plaintiff wasted three years serving thousands of discovery requests, deposing over a dozen witnesses and investigating every aspect of Zootopia’s development,” the Disney lawyers wrote. “In fact, the uncontroverted evidence shows how Byron Howard of Disney Animation independently created the ‘Zootopia’ title in July 2012.”

 

– Excerpt from an article for City News Service. Read the full article here.

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