Warner Bros.' 'Hari Puttar' suit thrown out

Film will be released in India this weekend

By Nyay Bhushan
The Hollywood Reporter
Sept 22, 2008, 12:51 PM ET


"Hari Puttar"

NEW DELHI -- The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed Warner Bros.' copyright infringement suit against Mumbai-based banner Mirchi Movies over its movie "Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors," clearing the way for the film's release on Friday.

In its suit, filed in August, Warners had alleged that the "Hari Puttar" title was similar to the name of the studio's "Harry Potter" franchise. Monday's judgment stated that one of the reasons that led to the dismissal was the studio's delay in filing a suit after filing a notice in 2005 against Mirchi Movies when the banner launched the project.

Regarding the film's title, the judgment stated that children who read "Harry Potter" books are "a different class of consumer who will not confuse 'Harry Potter' with 'Hari Puttar.' "

In a statement Monday, a London-based Warner Bros. spokesperson said: "We brought these proceedings because we believe that the proposed title and marketing of the defendants' film infringed our intellectual property rights and unfairly sought to confuse consumers and benefit from the well-known and well-loved 'Harry Potter' brand. As a content company, it is imperative that we continue to protect our valuable intellectual property rights in this property, and we will now be reviewing the judgment and considering our options."

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mirchi Movies CEO Munish Purii said: "We are happy with the judgment. But the proceedings have distracted us from focusing on marketing the film given we have signed major promotional deals with brands such as McDonald's, (food company) Britannia and (gaming company) Zapak, among others. However, we are looking forward to the film's release this weekend following its premiere on Wednesday."
Warner Bros.' 'Hari Puttar' suit thrown out