Costello Law Corporation
We Can Help You, Call Us Today
916-520-3360
This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

California judge issues temporary restraining order against 'Age of the Hobbits'

A federal judge in California has ordered a temporary restraining order against a "mockbuster" film studio that will temporarily prevent it from releasing its direct-to-video film "Age of Hobbits" a few days before New Line Cinema's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" hits theaters.

Warner Brothers, which owns New Line, had sued studio The Asylum, alleging that "Age of the Hobbits" infringed on the trademarks it owns with respect to film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" novels.

The Asylum had tried to claim that the word "hobbit" had entered mainstream use and had become a generic term for a small, human-like creature, but Warner Brothers presented evidenc that consumers were likely to be misled and think "Age of the Hobbits" was in some way an "official" film adaptation of a Tolkien work.

In his ruling, the judge said "the majority of factors" weighed in favor of customer confusion, meaning people who rented "Age of the Hobbits" at Redbox would likely think it was linked to "The Hobbit," and that no factors weighed against such a conclusion.

This has been an interesting test of intellectual property law. Generally, people can go ahead and make parodies, commentaries and spoofs of trademarked or copyrighted material, but they cannot just appropriate elements of such material and use them for their own aims.

"Age of the Hobbits" tested the legal understandings of what constitutes a fair borrowing or use and what amounts to an unlawful knockoff. The Asylum has a long history of making direct-to-video movies with names similar to those in theaters, evidently in hopes of confusing consumers and getting them to rent the films.

Source: E! News, "Age of the Hobbits: Judge Stops Release of Knockoff Movie," Bruna Nessif, Dec. 10, 2012

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Us Today

To protect your valuable idea, contact our lawyers at Costello Law Corporation to set up an initial consultation. We are ready to assist you in any intellectual property issue.

Get Started

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Map & Directions

Costello Law Corporation

Costello Law Corporation
2267 Lava Ridge Court
Suite 210
Roseville, CA 95661

Phone: 916-520-3360
Fax: 916-441-4254
Map & Directions

Email Us linkedin