Pooh rights stay with Disney

US Court of Appeal throws out royalties lawsuit from Stephen Slesinger.
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Reports from the US yesterday said that a three judge panel in Los Angeles County Superior Court had upheld a 2004 trial court decision, which dismissed a lawsuit brought by Stephen Slesinger - the company which owns the rights to Winnie the Pooh's image.

Under a 1983 agreement, Stephen Slesinger licensed to Disney North American radio and television broadcasting, merchandising and recording rights.

However, the company accussed Disney of 'material breaches of its agreement', claiming that it has been cheated out of billions of dollars in royalties by underreporting sales of Pooh products.

The trial court dismissed the suit after discovering that the Slesinger family had obtained confidential Disney documents stolen from the rubbish and then lied about how they'd received the papers.

The verdict was upheld by the appeals court, however the Slesinger family is now planning to appeal to the California Supreme Court.

Pati Slesinger, owner of the firm, said in a statement: "Disney continues to breach our contract, and continues to infringe our copyrights and trademarks. Disney knows this is not over and they know the reasons why."

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