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Wednesday, 13 September, 2000, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Eh oh! BBC loses Teletubbies case
The Teletubbies
Teletubbies are a lucrative money-spinner for the BBC
The BBC could lose thousands of pounds in revenue after a Dutch court ruled a former homeless man has the right to use the Teletubbies trademark on products in the Benelux countries.

John Jadnanansing, who slept rough for five years, applied for the rights to the products based on the popular children's programme months before the BBC.

He saw the opportunity before the Teletubbies became popular in this country

Marka Schouten

The BBC has said it will appeal against the court's decision on the ownership of the trademark in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

A spokeswoman for the BBC told News Online: "We cannot comment because it is part of an ongoing legal process.

"But we will be contesting this action vigorously".

Marka Schouten, Mr Jadnanansing's lawyer, told The Times newspaper: "He is a clever, honest and creative man with good ideas.

'Four brightly coloured characters'

"He wrote to the BBC saying that he had a good idea and that another company could buy the licence from him for Teletubbies products, but the BBC just said they would sue him."

She added: "He saw the opportunity before the Teletubbies became popular in this country. I tried to help him because he was a person without a home but with a very good cause."

Teletubbies was launched three years ago and is now screened in more than 120 countries.

The four characters were first described as: "Four brightly coloured characters who live in a fantasy world linked to reality".

The BBC is now left with the rights to market a small range of Teletubbies products in the Benelux countries, among them dairy goods, and children's first-aid plasters.

See also:

08 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Teletubbies hit the PlayStation
05 Sep 00 | Wales
Teletubbies turn to wind power
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