DR. SEUSS' 'THE CAT IN THE HAT' AND 'CALVIN AND HOBBES' AWARDED $1.48 MILLION IN COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT CASE
SAN DIEGO, June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- No longer will unlicensed T-shirt and clothing manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers be able to print, distribute or sell clothing or other products with impunity; they will have to answer to Dr. Seuss' "Cat in the Hat" and the court. On May 28, 1993, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri awarded the 1984 Geisel Trust and Universal Press Syndicate nearly $1.5 million in damages in a copyright and trademark infringement case against Aaron Unger, a Los Angeles-based wholesaler and supplier of infringing T-shirts. The 1984 Geisel Trust, which owns the Dr. Seuss character rights and Universal Press Syndicate, which holds the rights to "Calvin and Hobbes," split the judgment with $750,000 awarded to the 1984 Geisel Trust and $737,000 to Universal Press Syndicate, the syndicator responsible for publishing and protecting Bill Watterson's "Calvin and Hobbes" cartoon strip and characters. "T-shirt printers and sellers have tried to make big bucks at the expense of Dr. Seuss and other similar book and cartoon strip characters by commercially exploiting the characters on clothing and other goods," said Anthony M. Stiegler, lead counsel for the Geisel Trust and an attorney at Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye. "All of these shirts and products are infringements of the owners' copyright, trademark and general intellectual property legal rights, and we are determined to stop these clothing counterfeiters." The lawsuit against Aaron Unger was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri in November 1992, which immediately granted a temporary restraining order requiring Unger to immediately halt the printing and distribution of the infringing shirts and to deliver his infringing shirts and screen printing materials to the court and counsel. The lawsuit progressed and on May 6, 1993, the court issued a permanent injunction forever barring Unger from printing, distributing or selling clothing or other articles bearing any of the Dr. Seuss or "Calvin and Hobbes" characters or further infringing the relevant copyrights and trademarks. "Neither the owners of the Dr. Seuss or the "Calvin and Hobbes" character rights have licensed or authorized any of the past T-shirts, hats and other items which appeared in the marketplace," said David Oliver, an attorney for Smith, Gill, Fisher & Butts in Kansas City which represents Universal Press Syndicate. "It is mostly a case of deliberate infringement for personal financial gain." Together and independently the Seuss and "Calvin and Hobbes" lawyers have scoured the United States identifying infringers and enforcing their rights by way of cease and desist letters, lawsuits, injunctions, damage awards and word of mouth. The Seuss lawyers currently have more than 60 matters resolved or pending in their anti-counterfeiting campaign. -0- 6/14/93 /EDITOR'S NOTE: For copies of relevant documents, contact Charlotte Andrist at Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye, 619-699-2838, or Steve Butler at Smith, Gill, Fisher & Butts, 816-474-7400./ /CONTACT: Charlotte Andrist of Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye, 619-699-2838/
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