LOS ANGELES, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Stephen Slesinger Inc. today said that it would move ahead in federal court seeking termination of rights that include Disney's U.S. and Canadian television and merchandising rights to Winnie the Pooh, which, if successful, could cost the Walt Disney Company upwards of $15 Billion.
Slesinger is also asking for compensatory and general damages in excess of $2 billion. Pati Slesinger, owner of Stephen Slesinger Inc., said, "This decision applies to the past. Disney continues to breach our contract, and continues to infringe our copyrights and trademarks. Every single day that Disney refuses to pay us what they are contractually obligated to pay, there are new breaches, which will only increase the many millions of dollars in damages they owe. Disney knows this is not over and they know the reasons why."
The small family-owned company intends to ask the California Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeal's decision.
"We will go as far as we have to go to and seek whatever legal remedy we can to receive justice in this case. We will vigorously pursue our legal rights in the federal court case, and in the proceedings before the California Supreme Court, and believe that in the fullness of time the company will obtain just compensation from Disney for cheating our company out of royalties it owed and withheld."
In addition to the state case, Slesinger is pursuing claims against Disney in federal court, where Slesinger recently won an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that defeated an attempt to terminate its contractual rights. Pending claims against Disney in Slesinger's federal compliant include: infringement of rights under the United States Copyright Act; trademark infringement; trade dress infringement; breach of contract; breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; fraud; declaratory relief; injunctive relief; violation of California's Businessand Professional Code; and unfair competition.
Quant Economics, Inc., a California based company in the licensing and valuation of intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, has analyzed the value of Winnie the Pooh to the Walt Disney Company and has determined that the Pooh rights now subject to termination is worth between $12 and $15 billion dollars to the Walt Disney Company.
Under a 1983 agreement, Slesinger licensed Disney U.S. and Canadian rights for radio, television and other broadcasting rights; merchandising rights; recording rights; among other rights. As pled by Slesinger, all of these rights stand to revert to Slesinger because of Disney's material breaches of its agreement with Slesinger.