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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 January, 2004, 12:51 GMT
Finding Nemo case delayed
Finding Nemo
Franck le Calvez says a number of characters are similar to his creations
A Paris judge put off on Wednesday a case brought by a French author who says his ideas were used in the hugely successful film Finding Nemo.

Franck le Calvez claims that the US studio Disney, and Pixar films, ripped off the fish characters from his illustrated children's book.

The US cartoon about a fish searching for his missing son has been nominated for four Oscars this year.

Mr le Calvez's lawyers asked for time to read last-minute arguments from Disney, which they received on Tuesday.


The hearing will now take place on 23 February.

Mr le Calvez claims there are similarities between his creation - Pierrot the Clown Fish - and the hero of Disney's film, which has netted more than $670 million worldwide.

He says Disney's supporting cast of characters also bear a resemblance to his creations, including a surgeon fish and a cleaner shrimp.

Mr le Calvez says he was forced to start his legal action after French bookshops stopped stocking his children's book because of fears they might be sued by Disney, even though his book came out before the film.

An outline of his work was lodged with a French authors' copyright association in 1995.

Mr le Calvez wants the French court to stop Disney selling any Nemo merchandise which looks like his own trademarked image of Pierrot.

Disney denies plagiarism.

In a statement, the company said the case was "meritless."

It said: "It should be beyond doubt that the characters and story of Disney's and Pixar's were developed independently in the US by Pixar writer, director and animator Andrew Stanton, who had never seen or heard of Pierrot Le Poisson Clown, or any of its illustrations or story until this lawsuit was filed in late 2003.

"Finding Nemo is an animated work of art that is beloved by audiences around the world for its endearing characters and compelling story, all of which we hope audiences will enjoy for years to come."

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