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Last Updated: Friday, 12 March, 2004, 17:52 GMT
French author loses Nemo battle
Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo is the biggest animated film of all time
A French author who said Disney copied one of his characters in Finding Nemo has lost a court battle to stop film merchandise being sold in France.

Franck le Calvez said that the film's title character, a clownfish called Nemo, resembled the title character in his story Pierrot The Clown Fish.

However, a judge ruled that although the two characters resembled each other they did not have enough similarities.

Le Calvez' book, about a fish looking for his family, was published in 2002.

He says that he registered the idea with French trademark officials in 1995, and turned it into a book after attempting to pitch the idea to film animation studios.


However, Disney lawyer Magali Thomas said that the studio had drawn up plans for the character of Nemo by 2000, two years before Le Calvez published his book.

"A clown fish is orange," she said. "It has three white stripes ... Everything is already there in nature."

Judge Louis-Marie Raingeard de la Bletiere added that although both fish have big smiles and three stripes down the side - their resemblance was unlikely to confuse people.

"It is difficult to imagine that they would confuse Nemo with Pierrot," the judge said.

Le Calvez plans to take separate legal action against Disney and Pixar for copyright infingement.

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