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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 April, 2005, 20:59 GMT 21:59 UK
Frenchman loses Nemo copy claim
Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo is one of the biggest animated films of all time
A French children's book author who claimed Disney's Finding Nemo copied a fish of his creation has been convicted of fraud and ordered to pay damages.

Franck Le Calvez claimed that the film's title character was based on his orange and white clown fish, Pierrot.

But a French court ruled on Wednesday that Nemo had existed before Pierrot and that Le Calvez even knew of the Disney character when he created his.

He was ordered to pay 61,000 euros ($80,000, 42,000) damages and costs.

Le Calvez had already lost one case last March. A court ruled then that the two fish were similar - both have big smiles and sport three stripes down the side - but found that their similarities were not enough to confuse people.

Already drawn

The French writer maintained that the Walt Disney Company copied his character and launched a separate action for damages of 1 million euros.

He argued that Nemo's creators copied his character and story, Pierrot the Clown Fish, about a young fish separated from his family - a plot similar to that of Finding Nemo.

Le Calvez published his book in late 2002, though he had claimed that the story was registered years before.

The court ruled that Nemo could be seen in France by mid-2002 through internet sites and in film previews available on video cassettes for other Disney films released from September onwards.

Disney lawyer Magali Thorne said the US fish was already drawn by 2000.

'Very happy'

The court ruled that Le Calvez had knowledge of the Disney character and had fraudulent intentions when he registered his own brand.

Outside court, Ms Thorne said Disney was "very, very, very happy" with the ruling.

Le Calvez was ordered to pay a total of 38,000 euros in damages to Disney and Pixar Animation - which together own Nemo - and to French publisher Disney-Hachette Editions.

He was also ordered to reimburse legal fees of 23,000 euros to the three companies and to pay the cost of advertising the ruling.


SEE ALSO:
French author loses Nemo battle
12 Mar 04 |  Entertainment
Nemo animator's fishy tale
31 Jan 04 |  Tees
Finding Nemo case delayed
29 Jan 04 |  Entertainment
Nemo breaks half-billion barrier
27 Jan 04 |  Entertainment
Disney sued in France over Nemo
24 Dec 03 |  Entertainment


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