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$1bn WINNIE OR LOSE.

Byline: MARK ELLIS, Foreign Editor

WINNIE the Pooh was at the centre of a billion dollar court battle in America yesterday over the bear's honeypot of merchandising rights.

At stake is who should get the spin-offs from the A.A. Milne books which have turned into a pounds 700million US industry with sales of toys and gifts.

Milne's granddaughter Clare and Walt Disney, which made the film blockbuster Winnie the Pooh, are locked in battle in a Los Angeles court with Stephen Slesinger, a Florida-based firm which acquired the US rights to Pooh in 1930,

It accuses Disney of cheating it out of royalties going back years and said: "They're trying to avoid the fact they may be out up to one billion dollars."
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 7, 2002
Words:124
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