Federal District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper, of the United States District Court, Central District, issued a major decision in the federal copyright case, granting Stephen Slesinger, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment, effectively ending the Walt Disney Company's efforts to take back the Winnie the Pooh copyright.
Barry Slotnick, Slesinger's attorney from the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, said, "The Court once again has once ruled that Disney's claims against Slesinger are improper. Now that Disney's misguided claims have been dismissed, we can focus on pursuing Slesinger's claims against Disney for damages, trademark and copyright infringement, breach of contract, and fraudulently underpaying royalties, and seeking in excess of $2 billion in compensatory and general damages. We applaud the granting of our motion for summary judgment."
"It was Disney's attempt to take back the rights granted to my father over 70 years ago that led this case into federal court. Perhaps Disney might have spent their time merchandising Winnie the Pooh worldwide instead of attempting this scheme to take back what the court has thankfully ruled has been the Slesinger's all along: the rights to Winnie the Pooh," said Pati Slesinger.
In addition to the state case, Stephen Slesinger, Inc., has petitioned the United States Trademark and Patents Office seeking cancellation of a number of trademarks taken out by Disney on Winnie the Pooh based on the allegation that Disney had no legal right to do.