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John Lewis has successfully defended a copyright infringement claim against its 2019 Christmas advert in the UK High Court.

The advert in question features ‘Edgar’, a friendly dragon who has difficultly controlling his fire-breathing capabilities. A spin-off children’s book ‘Excitable Edgar’ was subsequently commissioned by John Lewis following the advertisements success.

Fay Evans issued the claim against John Lewis and advertising company, Adam&EveDDB (“the Companies”), on the grounds Edgar bore a “striking similarity” to the title character of her 2017 children’s book, “Fred The Fire-Sneezing Dragon”.

At the hearing before the High Court in January, the Companies argued there are “numerous and substantial differences” between the two characters and stories. They also claimed that the advert was based on an idea initially put to John Lewis in 2016, a year before Evans’ book was published. HHJ Clarke dismissed the claim from Ms Evans. In her judgment, she stated “I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that there was no access to Fred The Fire-Sneezing Dragon by any of the creatives involved in the development of the 2019 advert and Excitable Edgar, and so there can have been no copying.” She concluded that any similarities between the two characters were “few in number and can easily be explained by coincidence rather than copying”.

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

in: Case Law, Companies, Consumer Law, Copyright, EU/International, Legal News, News

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