201711.22
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Mr Underbed takes on John Lewis Christmas advert

Well known author Chris Riddell has enjoyed an increase in sales of his picturebook “Mr Underbed” having pointed out the close resemblance of this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, which features a character called Moz the Monster, to his picturebook.

The Guardian reported last week, in an article found at this link, that Mr Riddell had identified the similarities between his story and the John Lewis advert, which both involve a big blue unthreatening furry under-the-bed monster who snores loudly. Since that time, Mr Riddell’s observations have attracted commentary from third parties on the similarities and the potential legal avenues available to him.

However, the publicity generated by Riddell’s observations led to his book, Mr Underbed, selling out overnight, according to his publisher Andersen Press. Andersen Press has stated that it has ordered a new print run which will be open to all retailers. Further, Andersen Press is launching a campaign to compete with John Lewis on sales, inviting as many retailers as are willing to stock Mr Underbed, in the run up to Christmas. Moz the Monster, in storybook form, is exclusive to John Lewis stores, unlike Mr Underbed.

John Lewis has stated that “the main thrust of our story is utterly different to Chris Riddell’s”, and Riddell has stated he will not be pursuing legal action.

The positive outcome achieved by Riddell here is an interesting example of taking a commercial view on potential commercial disputes, including intellectual property disputes, and the benefits that can be achieved from that approach. The benefits in this case are increased publicity and increased sales.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.