Tsurubaya Productions Wins Lawsuit Against Unauthorized Chinese Ultraman Film
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Ultraman production company Tsuburaya Productions won its lawsuit against Chinese production company BlueArc on June 30. The Shanghai court awarded damages of 38 million yen (about US$354,900) to Tsuburaya for BlueArc's copyright infringement of Tsuburaya's Ultraman character.
Tsuburaya filed the lawsuit against Guangzhou-based company BlueArc in 2018 after the Chinese company produced and opened the Dragon Force: So Long, Ultraman film in China in October 2017. The film ran in theaters for a month. The film uses the Ultraman character, and casts Ultraman as an enemy who fights against a Chinese robot hero.
Tsuburaya claimed that movie was made and advertised without permission from the Japanese rights holder, and sought to stop the film's screening through legal action via a Shanghai court in September 2017. However, BlueArc went ahead with the film's opening, and Tsuburaya withdrew its lawsuit. Tsuburaya then filed another lawsuit in February 2018, claiming that the film's production, advertising, and screening was a copyright infringement of the Ultraman property.
Tsurubaya Productions won a case in 2017 against UM Corporation (UMC) for the international licensing rights for the Ultraman property, ruling that the 1976 "License Granting Agreement" from which UMC derived its supposed license for the property was not valid. The United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit upheld these rights last December after UMC filed motions to overturn the verdict. BlueArc's license claim on the property was based on the same "License Granting Agreement."